The cord-cutting movement isn’t limited to consumer cable and Netflix. As Voice over Internet Protocol communication matures and as high-speed Internet becomes cheap and ubiquitous, an ever increasing number of companies are trashing the conventional landlines and moving to business VoIP.
VoIP sounds almost mystical and somewhat magical: Some hype makes it sound more flexible, more full-featured, and best of all, significantly cheaper than placing your calls through traditional telephone service providers. With that said it’s good to look at all the suppliers in a side by side comparison to get the right product for your office and avoid any pitfalls.
Understanding How a VoIP System Works
Generally, things are somewhat straight forward if you’re looking for a hosted service. Many of the top VoIP service providers handle all the heavy lifting remotely, delivering phone calls to your business phones and software clients without much headache, especially if you use phones that are set up for plug-and-play certified for the service in question. When you compare VoIP solutions for business you’ll see that the majority of them require no additional on-site hardware aside from those phones; and at most, you might need to keep some hardware on-site for back up, but that’s usually not a concern.
In contrast, maintaining a self-hosted, on-site office VoIP phone system requires a little more time and effort. You need an IP-based private branch exchange—a VoIP-friendly version of the PBX telephone systems that most offices use—to route your office calls to the appropriate phones on your network, and also a PSTN gateway. The PSTN gateway sits between the IP-PBX software and the analog signals of the public switched telephone network, converting calls to and from digital signals as necessary.
No matter which VoIP solution you go with you can easily handle the basic settings for your lines over the phone, while tweaking more advanced options requires diving into your provider’s online account interface.