There are now plenty of business alternatives to standard phone lines with a national carrier, and that old PABX in the corner processing calls in your office. The improvements in the cloud and internet technology provide us with the ability to out source all of that, reduce costs and increase features using VOIP.
What is VOIP?
VOIP, or voice over internet protocol, is an advanced technology that allows you to make voice calls using a broadband internet connection in lieu of a regular phone line.
Some VoIP services may only allow you to call other individuals using the same service, but others may allow you to call anyone with a telephone number-including mobile, local, long distance, and international numbers.
What’s more, some VoIP services work over a special VOIP phone, some have apps for use on your computer, and other services allow you to use a traditional phone to a VoIP adapter. There are now an increasing number of mobile apps, so you can take your number with you wherever you go.
How a VOIP service works
Voice over internet protocol services convert your voice into a digital signal that is able to travel over the internet.
If you’re calling a regular phone, the signal will be converted to a regular telephone signal prior to reaching its desired destination. VOIP allows you to make a call directly from a personal computer, special VOIP phone or a traditional phone linked to a special adapter.
Wireless hotspots in locations such as parks, restaurants & airports allow you to connect to the World Wide Web & may enable remote use of VOIP services. The critical part of an internet connection for good quality VOIP is the upload speed. Most broadband providers quote only the download speed (great for watching a movie), so look out for this when using VOIP.
What equipment do I need for VOIP?
This service requires high-speed internet connections & a computer, VOIP enabled phone or a VOIP adapter. Any computer with a VOIP provider installed will require an inexpensive microphone and some software. VOIP adapters & phones are plugged into a user’s Internet connection & will work like a normal phone. Each VOIP program is different, as some will only work on phones whereas others like Skype will work on computers and smartphones.
VOIP service providers
This service is available via a telephone or computer, but not all VOIP services will work with both technologies. Service is available via a number of different providers, and prices vary depending on the respective service provider. Some will offer a fax service is offered by some programs, and video-chat is also available on some VOIP computer applications.
Who can I call?
Depending upon-your-service, you might be limited to only other subscribers to the service, or you may be able to call anyone with a telephone number (including local, long distance, mobile and international numbers). If you are calling someone with a regular phone, that person doesn’t need any special equipment to talk to you.
Merits of VOIP
Some services (VOIP) provide features & services lacking on a traditional phone, or are available but upon user paying an additional fee. Furthermore, you may be able to avoid paying for both a traditional telephone line and broadband connection. In this sense, it is cheaper. This alone makes VOIP for business very attractive.
You will be able to make calls with multiple people using VOIP service, and you can still use your computer and Internet while using the phone. VOIP services are usually portable since you can use them anywhere there is a broadband connection. Features such as caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding and number portability are integrated with VOIP.
Businesses that run distributed staff can benefit greatly by sending the hardware to the staff member who plugs it in, and then they use the phone just as if they were in the office.
Most VOIP services don’t work when the internet becomes unavailable. This can be caused by a traffic surge on the line, power outage on network hardware, or some other issue with the Internet Service Provider. These issues can be mitigated with good advice from your VOIP provider.
Generally VOIP’s benefits in features like caller management, and flexibility for remote workers generally seal the deal. Now, with better pricing, VOIP is a strong contender for any business, and the call quality can be managed with a little bit of planning. Check with your VOIP provider to ensure they are prepared to manage this with you, and what support they provide.
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