VoIP FAQ - a guide for beginners

Posted by: Schepisi - Friday, February 19, 2016

What is VoIP and should I use it for business?

VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a telecommunications system that delivers voice communication over the internet, rather than a device that connects to a fixed phone line (like a traditional landline phone).

Traditional landline phone systems – even from businesses with a dozen phone lines – face competition from VoIP providers.

Businesses are relying on VoIP to provide them with the same functionality and quality of a traditional phone line, but at a lower cost.

VoIP for business

Do I use VoIP as a replacement of normal telephone lines?

Many businesses that use VoIP have made the switch from landline phones, effectively rendering the latter as unnecessary.

Not only can it provide the same quality you’ve come to expect from a traditional telephone, it can also promote exceptional cost savings. Of course, this depends on your business’s specific needs and uses, but many organisations – both large and small – enjoy beneficial cost savings through the deployment and use of their VoIP systems.

What's the quality of VoIP like?

You should expect the same audio quality from VoIP as you would from a traditional telephone system. Poor quality, more often that not, comes down to the strength and bandwidth of your internet connection. If you’re running a business, your internet connection needs to be sufficient, so it’s unlikely you will encounter VoIP audio problems at work.

On the other hand, VoIP in turn should not be affecting your internet connection and leaving you with slow load times. VoIP is only as good as the internet connection that powers it – so with a strong ISP you shouldn’t have any VoIP worries.

What about my existing phone number?

Now, this is circumstantial, but many businesses that make the switch from landline to VoIP can actually keep their existing number!

What might prevent you from moving your existing number to VoIP:

There are a couple of reasons as to why you might not be able to move your existing number over to a new VoIP system. This helpful article lists some of the most common.

What kind of hardware do I need?

Smaller businesses might rely solely on their computer or laptop ‘soft phones’ to make and receive VoIP calls. A soft phone, found right there on your computer, allows you to receive and make a call to your online ‘contacts’. This is a viable option for some businesses.

However, most businesses that move to VoIP mightn’t necessarily choose to rely on soft phones, but rather invest – once off – in purpose-built VoIP telephones.

The obvious advantage here is that your computer does not need to be on to receive a VoIP call to a standalone device. 

What about overseas calls?

Many VoIP providers offer affordable overseas call costs – often remarkably cheaper than what traditional telephone networks charge.

Think about the frequency of your international calls, because VoIP isn’t your only choice for powerful international conversations…

Consider Lifesize Video Conferencing for frequent international calls

If your business finds itself making countless overseas calls in a single week, consider the muscle of video conferencing.

VoIP and other voice calls are sufficient for information exchange, but you can take in to another level with rich data: document sharing, video sharing, and live collaboration makes video conferencing a powerful business communication tool. Find out more about Lifesize Video Conferencing from Schepisi in this blog post.

What happens when the power or my Internet goes out?

That’s one of the considerations you need to keep in mind if you’re thinking about making the switch to VoIP for your business telephone system.

One of the downsides of VoIP is that in the event of a power outage or if your Internet goes down, you will also lose VoIP services. Today, we’re never without a smartphone – in the (unlikely) event that you do lose power, you’ve still got your smartphone to make any crucial calls.

(And who are we kidding, you’re likely to already be using your smartphone at work! More about BYOD here.)

A note of reassurance, though: think back over the past 12 months. How many times has your company’s Internet gone down for a worrying amount of time? Once, at best? Never? It’s a small risk, but nevertheless, it is a possible negative associated with VoIP phone systems that you need to be aware of.

How businesses use VoIP

VoIP offers businesses extraordinary flexibility as well as a cost-effective solution to communication woes or troubles. Interested to read more about VoIP? Find out a couple of great VoIP benefits here.

Want to find out if VoIP can offer your business affordable, effective, high quality communication? Speak to the experts.

What now?

Schepisi is a Telstra business partner in Melbourne