Your business relies on communication, both externally to keep open channels with clients, vendors, and service providers, and internally, among team members. You also want to reduce costs and have heard that Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) can save you a significant amount of money. Is making this shift right for your business? Will you save money at the risk of sacrificing quality communication? To help you understand this growing movement in communication, we’re taking a closer look at the benefits and disadvantages of VOIP.
What Is VOIP?
Before we break down the pros and cons, let’s look at what VOIP actually is and how it works. Simply put, it’s an internet-based phone service. Your current system relies on analog phone signals to transmit communication, whereas VOIP sends digital signals over the internet. This function can be built into the phone or a traditional business phone can be connected to an analog terminal adapter (ATA).
For example, if you use an IP phone, your set up would be:
- IP Phone -> Ethernet Cable -> Router -> Internet -> VOIP Provider
On the other hand, if you used an ATA to connect an existing line, the setup would be:
- Analog phone -> ATA -> Ethernet Cable -> Router -> Internet -> VOIP Provider
As long as you have an internet connection, you’ve got a reliable phone system.
The Advantages of VOIP for Businesses
Now that you know what VOIP is, let’s look at what makes it a powerful tool for businesses.
The number one benefit for businesses is the low cost per call. Instead of relying on the traditional landline infrastructure, VOIP operating costs are much lower, in that the monthly fees are generally less expensive, domestic calls are free, and there are fewer in-house resources necessary to maintain the system. Additionally, the features you pay extra for with your landline – voicemail, call forwarding, conferencing, and video calling – are included in a VOIP plan.
With landlines, you have to continually add new lines as your business grows or you open a new location. A VOIP system allows you to grow without having to purchase additional hardware or pay for added lines. Instead, you can update your preferences instantly and start receiving calls.
Full Remote Capacity
As long as there’s an internet connection, calls can be sent to a cell phone, laptop, or tablet. This means you can have one business number and your team can answer from anywhere. During times when your team can’t all be together or working on site, you can still maintain productivity and communications.
Because you’re already using a converged data network for your communications, rather than dedicated phone lines, setting up and participating in a conference call is efficient, easy, and included in your VOIP system – this includes video calls. You can also send documents images, and video through your call while you’re talking so you can increase collaboration during your calls.
The Disadvantages of VOIP
Lower costs, growth, improved communications, and the ability to maintain communications even during a situation, like a pandemic are great, but what about disadvantages? Is it worth making the switch?
A Trusted Internet Connection
For most people, having a trusted internet connection isn’t a problem, but it is something to factor in depending on your location. That doesn’t mean that losing internet will plunge you into a communication void – you can set up call forwarding to go to a data-enabled cell phone or another source if the office phone can’t be answered. It’s just something you should know going in.
Latency & Jitter
You may experience a bit of a lag at times in your communication because VOIP breaks your communication into “data packets” which are reassembled when they reach their destination. With a poor internet connection or poor cabling, you may experience lag and jitter.
The initial installation of your VOIP system at your business’s “home base” is a bit tricky, especially if you move away from traditional analog phones and choose an IP office phone system. Fortunately, a trained VOIP installation technician can ensure you have the structured cabling and setup to ensure reliable communications both in-house and remotely.
Contact Us for VOIP Installation in North Carolina
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you design, install, and maintain a VOIP system for your business in North Carolina, we can help. Reach out to us today at 800-255-5664 or fill out the form below to get started.