What to Consider Before Moving to VoIP Services

Businesses are beginning to realize the many benefits of Voice over IP (VoIP) services – which can reduce communication costs while providing a feature-rich experience. However, making the transition from TDM-based services to VoIP requires a different mind set. Here are a few things to consider if you are thinking of hopping on the VoIP bandwagon:

Consider your business’s current and future bandwidth needs.

VoIP service means Voice over Internet Protocol – that means your voice traffic is now going to be routed over the Internet. So, in addition to your data bandwidth needs, you will need to consider voice traffic when determining how much speed you need. Instead of thinking about how many traditional business voice lines are needed, one must now consider the number of simultaneous talk sessions required by the business.

This is best explained by an example, such as a real estate office. Assume there are 20 realtors working in a particular office, however only 12 or so are in the office at a given time. Realtors are typically on the phone and Internet most of the time while they are in the office - setting appointments, working with lenders, posting listings to the web, sending pictures to clients, etc. On traditional services, this business might order 20 business lines and a separate Internet connection. However, with VoIP, this business really only needs 12 simultaneous talk sessions with 20 phones and 20 direct numbers assigned. These 12 talk sessions would have high voice quality on a 1.5MB data connection.

And here’s the silver bullet for switching to VoIP. A business no longer needs to purchase a set of voice lines and a separate connection for Internet. With VoIP all traffic is carried over a single connection. Plus, when talk sessions are not in use, that bandwidth is automatically transferred to increase Internet/data speeds. This is how businesses are reaping the costs benefits of VoIP technology – ensuring every bit of bandwidth is always being utilized either for voice or data.

Ensure the VoIP solution you are considering is business-grade.

There are two main types of VoIP offerings in the marketplace today – those that utilize the public Internet and those which require a dedicated Internet connection. When considering the type of solution for your business, keep in mind three factors: 

  • Is your voice service serving a critical need? 
  • A main risk factor when transitioning to VoIP is the reliability of your Internet connection.  If your Internet goes down, so does your voice service.  If voice service is a critical part of your business, consider a business-grade Internet service that comes with a solid SLA (service level agreement).
  • How important is voice quality to your business? 
  • VoIP services that use the public Internet can be at risk for voice quality – voice traffic cannot be prioritized over data and could result in jitter or packet loss with your voice transmission. VoIP services that use a dedicated, business-grade solution can offer real-time Quality of Service (QoS), which means your voice traffic will always be prioritized over data, thus giving you the best voice quality available.
  • How important is security to your voice calls? 
  • Internet security is a prime concern with businesses today – hacking, phishing, etc are all common-place terms. With business voice traffic being transmitted over the Internet, businesses should be even more concerned with security, especially if sensitive information is being discussed. Dedicated Internet with a secure firewall will offer maximum protection over public Internet VoIP solutions where security breaches are more common.
  • Determine how much technical involvement you want in managing your solution.

One of the major benefits of VoIP technology is being able to outsource your communications platform to a company that is an expert in communications. Hosted PBX services are becoming a popular option among business owners. No upfront capital and no maintenance costs are key values of a hosted experience.

However, some companies have the technical expertise and prefer to maintain their own PBX platform. Almost all major PBX vendors have an IP PBX offering that can use VoIP technology. And even if you don’t have an IP PBX today, communication providers can still deliver VoIP services to your location and then “translate” it back to an analog or digital signal depending on the type of PBX you own.

VoIP services and technology is growing faster than ever before. If you are interested in learning more about what Windstream VoIP solutions  can do for your business’ communication needs, check out:

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