On average, there are 11 million meetings per day in the U.S., many involving video conferencing, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services. VoIP services have grown in popularity as the world has moved increasingly online, leaving traditional types of business phone systems behind.
But what is VoIP? VoIP, is a technology that allows you to make voice calls using a broadband Internet connection instead of a regular phone line. So you make calls over the internet instead of a phone, using a system similar to a phone line. It requires a lot more network power than a traditional service, but after an initial investment? Is generally cheaper to maintain.
If you're a small business considering getting VoIP there are some things you'll need to keep in mind, however.
There are two different types of VoIP systems that one can use, at least on a basic level. One that you host, and one that another company hosts for you.
Hosted VoIP services for small businesses rely on an "open Internet" connection; meaning they (the poster) do not control the total connection to the switch. This type of service is more common in residential VoIP services and for the small office/home office. Some provider's offer a good quality business VoIP service or hosted VoIP at this level.
Picking a good small business VoIP provider can be difficult, but if you follow a few guidelines, it shouldn't be too difficult.
- Manage Your Network
This is one aspect that you have complete control of. You need to make sure your network is running at the best levels, on your end. You need good structured cabling for data and voice. Structured cabling is a key part of network infrastructure.Simple networks can have problems that will affect the quality of VoIP calls. Make sure your computers are hooked up right, your switches are in good shape and that there is only one DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol).
- Don't Pick Low
The lowest price is not the best service, and the cheapest parts are not the best quality. Going for the least expensive structured cabling, network components, and VoIP provider might cripple your business. Choose a provider that has a price that is reasonable with their competition, but not a low-cost provider. And never be cheap on hardware, they'll last longer if they're better quality.
- Choose Based On Features
When comparing features from the various VoIP providers, keep in mind how the information is presented and what information is presented. The look and feel of a provider's website can give a good clue as to the provider's target customer base. Does their website convey quality? Does the information they provide appeal to you?Do their features benefit you, or are they more than you need, for more cost? Can you get what you need, without the additives, elsewhere? Keep it all in mind. You're not going cheap, but you don't want what you don't need or won't use.
Those are just some guidelines to keep in mind when comparing VoIP hosts. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.