When it comes to business telephone service, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has proven to be the most cost effective service available. Companies in the Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA areas want to know what to expect from VoIP service and we will provide the pros and cons. The state of the art calling technology that VoIP provides is improving reliability all of the time making it more sought after by businesses looking to help their bottom line.
When you choose to go with VoIP for your business’s phone service you can expect:
- Substantial savings on long-distance calling: With VoIP service, your phone calls are transmitted over the internet, so you are, in most cases, billed one low monthly rate for unlimited calling. Incoming toll free calls and international calling can be more but, still less than traditional plans.
- Broadband connection required: The more simultaneous users you will have, the more bandwidth you will need. You’ll want to use a router with configurable Quality of Service settings so that the VoIP voice traffic can be assigned to the highest priority. VoIP call quality can be negatively impacted if employees are streaming music and or video.
- Possible down time: Since VoIP phone service depends on your Internet connection and electricity, if either goes down; your phones go down as well. Features like find-me-follow-me set up for routing unanswered calls at your desk phone to your cell phone can be very important to minimize these impacts. Transmission of voice is much more sensitive than data; if your internet connection drops for 10 seconds, you likely won’t notice on your PC but, a phone call will probably be disconnected.
- Seamless management of calls to multiple locations: For businesses with more than one location, you don’t need separate numbers because VoIP allows the ease of transferring calls from one location to another. This added feature goes a long way for customer convenience.
- Ease of transferring service: In an emergency situation, you can easily redirect your calls to another location or even a cell phone so your business is able to maintain business continuity.
- Convenience of one number for landlines and mobile devices: VoIP service allows for each individual staff member to be contacted on a business line and mobile line so you are always able to answer your calls. This feature allows maximum business flexibility so you never have to worry about missing a call no matter where your work takes you.
- Security concerns: The major concerns are service and identity theft, viruses, spamming, Vishing attacks (VoIP phishing) and Denial of Service attacks. Without a properly configured network and firewall these issues can become a serious threat to your business.
- You can keep your existing phone number(s): The porting process for regular telephone lines to VoIP service is no different than changing from one of the major carriers to another. The actual porting of the numbers is so simple you may not even know when it happens until after the fact!
- Emergency calls to 911: Not all VoIP service providers can handle calls to 911. Be sure to ask about this before signing up for IP phone service with a new provider. You don’t want to find this out the hard way!
- Faxing and Credit Card Processing: Power faxers will want to stick with a traditional phone line. Single page documents normally transmit well, but anything over 3 or 4 pages can often be quite challenging. Additionally, most traditional credit card machines use a dial-up modem for sending their data and those don’t work well on a VoIP telephone connection.
- Alarm line connectivity: You will want to let your alarm company know when switching to VoIP telephone service and consult with them about the best way to proceed. Discuss with them the technologies that are compatible with your system and if any changes will be needed.
When you choose VoIP for your business phone service, you can expect substantial cost savings. You also need to be prepared that VoIP technology is only as reliable as your Internet connection. If your broadband connection isn’t robust enough to handle the voice traffic, you may still have options and a local VoIP phone service provider can work with you to determine what is best for your business.