Voice Over IP – A Good Choice For Small Business?

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Voice Over IP – A Good Choice For Small Business?


It is safe to say that consumers have been adopting voice over IP (VoIP) in a big way. Vonage and similar services are continuing to increase their market share. This evolution is caused by the wide availability of high-speed Internet connections in homes, the high cost of copper wires from the local phone carrier, and general frustration with "The Phone Company". The savings potential itself is big. I am in the process of switching from an $ 80 / month phone line to a remote extension of my office phone system, which will be virtually free.

Mention VoIP to a small business owner however, and you are liable to invoke a look of horror. VoIP has gotten a bad reputation in the business community, largely due to poor quality Internet connections, unsupportive vendors, and the complexities of supporting VoIP on a business network. Many small businesses are choosing to sacrifice potentially large monthly savings just to hang onto their copper phone lines.

The bad reputation of VoIP in business is heavily deserved, but fortunately, this is changing. Positive developments include:

  • Improved speed of Internet connections available to small businesses, and at a lower cost
  • VoIP carriers focused on the needs of business
  • Affordable phone systems that are equipped to support high-qualify VoIP connections
  • Plug and play network hardware that supports prioritization of VoIP network traffic (known as QoS) out of the box.
  • Excellent call quality (between 95% and 105% of the quality of a copper line phone call) on a properly implemented VoIP system.

You should give serious thought to whether VoIP is a good idea for your business, because the potential savings is fundamental. A business can often save 75% or more off of their monthly bill, while at the same time increasing capacity. Additionally, with VoIP, you are no longer tied to a particular vendor. That being said, there are a number of things to consider when making the choice, including:

  • Is your Internet connection fast and reliable? If not, you will never be happy with VoIP.
  • Do you have a phone system capable of supporting VoIP, or, do your potential savings justify the purchase of one?
  • Can your business survive phone outages? With the emergence of cell phones as a key means of business communications, the importance of land lines is decreasing for many. There are still many businesses however that live or die based on their phone lines working. If you are such a business, you should keep at least a portion of your traffic on copper.
  • Can you identify a VoIP carrier who focuses on business, and it prepares to do what it takes to support business customers? They are out there, but the ones with solid reputations can be hard to find.
  • Do you have a good vendor who can support your end-to-end VoIP needs, including working with your VoIP carrier, supporting your phone system, and helping to manage your network devices? Businesses who have only one vendor to call for all aspects of their VoIP needs have a much greater probability of success.

If you can honestly answer yes to the above questions, you should probably consider switching at least a portion of your phone lines to VoIP. If you answered no to any of the above, begin thinking about how you can make adjustments over time to position yourself to consider VoIP.


Source by Robert Covington

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