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VoIP Phone System Essentials
While a traditional landline setup may be well-known and common, it is not the only choice. VoIP solutions allow you to make and receive calls over Internet connections. Some examples of this type of technology include Skype, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. Aside from app-based softphones, there are VoIP and SIP phones that can be used in office and operate like traditional business phones.
Many businesses are choosing VoIP phone systems because they are cost-effective, easy to upgrade, and offer a multitude of enhanced features that are typically unavailable with traditional systems. Before you decide to make the switch, be sure the necessary requirements are met.
Before choosing a VoIP solution, you should determine whether or not your Internet connection can handle it. In general, one VoIP call will use around 90-100Kbits/sec of bandwidth, both upstream and downstream. You can test your connection through online VoIP speed-quality tests.
A lack of bandwidth will result in poor quality VoIP calls so if your internet connection doesn’t cut it, and you are set on switching to VoIP, an upgrade is mandatory.
If your employees use the internet often and at the same time, you may want to invest in a second line solely dedicated to VoIP traffic to ensure call quality, connection, and performance. A backup link may be necessary as well if potential downtime is unacceptable for your business.
A suitable router is also essential. In order for external users to access your system, the on-site IP PBX needs port-forwarding rules configured in your router. Your router must also support quality of service (QoS) rules for prioritizing VoIP traffic. If SIP ALG (application layer gateway is available on your router, be sure to turn it off to avoid instability issues.
If you are switching to VoIP, you will also need to sign up with a SIP (session initiation protocol) trunk provider to link your internal IP PBX to the public telephone network.
To determine how many SIP channels you require (each VoIP call uses one channel), examine your staff and how many of them use their phones during the busiest times. Remember that queued calls and callers on hold still use an SIP channel, and you may have mobile users running VoIP software on their smartphones as well. A good rule of thumb for moderate phone usage is one SIP channel for every three users.
Before choosing a provider, be sure to check the pricing as it can vary significantly. You should be able to easily upgrade or downgrade the number of channels purchased. You also want to make sure that you can have local phone numbers assigned to your SIP trunk and as well as multiple phone numbers which your IP PBX can then route through to different extensions.
On-site vs. Hosted
If you go for the on-site route, do not take shortcuts. Despite VoIP being a mature technology, everything must be configured properly to ensure optimal system performance.
Take the upgrade seriously and host your PBX on server-grade hardware dedicated to this task alone. Remember that you’re creating a single point of failure that will bring your entire VoIP system down if something goes wrong, or if there’s any conflict with other services running on the same host.
Also, never configure an IP PBX to use a dynamically assigned IP address. Because these can change at any time, your system will be susceptible to failure at any moment. Should your IP address change, your port-forwarding rules will fail and your IP phones will not be able to access the IP PBX.
Smaller businesses may have limited on-site IT expertise, therefore, may opt for a cloud-hosted VoIP solution. With the right support contract and service-level agreement, small businesses can avoid any confusion, stress, or dangers of something going wrong with their systems.
With its wide range of features, a VoIP PBX system can be overwhelming at first. Before going live, try setting up a test system to play with the various features and understand how the system works.
Some of the great features include a “digital receptionist” to read off a menu of options, along with call redirection to route incoming calls to staff on the road or those who do not want their mobile numbers made public.
In regards to handsets, you’ve got even more choices. Aside from the wide range of IP and SIP phones, mobile users can use “softphone” apps on their own phones, however, these are not always included in the IP PBX price.
Give your business a professional image and save time and money with a VoIP system. If you are looking for a new phone system or looking to upgrade to VoIP, please feel free to contact us at 800-564-8045. Our staff will be happy to assist you and answer any questions you may have. You may also browse our selection of new and refurbished business phones, equipment, and systems online at Startechtel.com.