The days of traditional landline telephones are numbered. The days of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) are well and truly here. Whilst the bigger benefits of VoIP include cost savings, scalability, and mobility, there are some drawbacks to consider before you make the switch.
VoIP takes an analogue signal and converts it into digital data. This means your calls can now be transmitted via your internet connection, rather than your telephone provider. VoIP calls can be made using analogue telephone adaptors (ATAs), computer-to-computer connections, or IP telephones.
An ATA allows you to connect a standard phone to your computer using an analogue-to-digital converter. Most ATAs come free with a VoIP service and setting them up is simple.
For computer-to-computer connections you’ll need a microphone and speakers (headsets work best), a sound card, and an Internet connection. You’ll also need VoIP software, which can often be free or low cost.
But by far the most popular VoIP solution for businesses is replacing your existing handset fleet with IP phones. These phones are almost identical, but have an ethernet connector allowing them to plug straight into your network.
- VoIP saves you money. Service costs for VoIP are cheaper than those of typical telephone service providers. Features such as caller ID, call waiting, call transfer, or three-way calling, you don’t pay extra for. And long-distance VoIP calls can be free, depending on how the call is placed.
- VoIP allows you to easily scale up. As your company grows, you can purchase more handsets to suit. You won’t need extra phone lines. Just plug them into your network, configure them up, and start calling!
- VoIP is flexible. If you’ve got access to an Internet connection, you can make a call. And not just one call, you could use your VoIP service for video conferencing. A BIG plus for staying in touch with your employees out on the road. You can also conference call your clients, regardless of their location. Overseas, interstate, it doesn’t matter.
- VoIP is better quality. In its beginnings, people shied away from VoIP due to the rumours of poor audio. Nowadays that’s not true. Because of the quality, quantity, and size of internet connections currently, VoIP can provide better call quality than traditional phone calls.
- VoIP reliability. If your internet service has frequent hiccups or downtime, your VoIP service will also suffer. Latency, jitter, and packet loss all affect call quality during VoIP conversations. VoIP also needs electricity, so a power outage will also take out your phone system. Unless you have an analogue handset somewhere, like an old phone or fax line, you won’t be able to make a traditional landline based call.
- VoIP maintenance. Depending on the size of your telephone network, you might need to factor in the cost of running, servicing, and maintaining your VoIP solution. The smaller or simpler VoIP systems require very little technical know-how. But bigger networks may require the assistance of a VoIP expert.
- Hackers. Because of VoIP’s increased popularity it’s attracted hackers. It’s possible to intercept VoIP calls or, if they’ve gained entry to your network, they might be able to bring down the phone system. But just like any IT device, if you follow best practices, apply security updates, and monitor for exploits, you’re generally in safe hands.
Intellect IT are specialists in VoIP technology, service and solutions. If you want to know more about VoIP and whether it’s a good fit for you and your business, call us and let’s start a conversation.