What is VoIP?

 

Many people will have heard of VoIP but only a few will know what it is, what features it has, and how it can benefit your business. Many years ago, if you wanted a phone system, you would’ve needed to purchase a PSTN line, usually multiple lines, to facilitate multiple concurrent calls. As you can imagine, the larger companies grew, inevitably, so would their line rentals, call costs and hardware purchases. Then, along came VoIP…

 

 

This completely changed everything we knew about traditional phone systems. Firstly, you no longer needed multiple PSTN lines, as VoIP works through your standard internet line – that’s right, multiple concurrent calls, without the need for multiple phone lines. The benefit of the added bandwidth on a broadband line meant that call quality was significantly better than your traditional phoneline too! 

 

 

As technology has advanced, so too have VoIP services. Now that VoIP had vastly improved voice calls, video conferencing was the next logical step. Many vendors started producing phones not only with truly exceptional call quality, but then came the introduction of cameras mixed in with your current phone system, allowing video conferencing capabilities.

Today, we now have Smartphone apps, that integrate with your phone system. Desktop apps, that allow you to take calls from anywhere, along with traditional desk phones that offer what was once considered enterprise level functionality at an affordable price for any size business. However, despite all of this, many companies still haven’t adopted VoIP, and if you’re reading this article there’s a good chance you haven’t either. Therefore, we’re going to look at the main pros and cons of VoIP, and hopefully leave you feeling a little less confused.

 

Concurrent Calls

As mentioned earlier in this article, the fact is you no longer need multiple phone lines to make multiple concurrent calls – just one internet line and you’re good to go! Most modern VoIP platforms are now able to stream high-quality calls, without using much bandwidth. This allows for users to have multiple calls simultaneously, and with the constant increase of modern broadband speeds, means that you no longer need to worry about missing a call because all your lines are in use!

Extra Features

Do you remember the smartphone you had ten years ago versus the smartphone you have now? Could you use it daily in 2021? Well, just like smartphones, VoIP platforms have also increased their functionality over the past decade. With the change in working habits, shifting from the office to home working, the need to meet digitally and collaborate, VoIP technology now makes all this possible. “Traditional” desk phones now have video conferencing features, mobile apps to allow you to answer work calls on-the-go, features that allow you to collaborate with your colleagues and even your customers using Microsoft Teams.

Hosted Platform

It used to be the case that companies would need to purchase a bulky, expensive piece of equipment called a PBX to route and managed phone calls (typically programmed by a highly trained engineer which could take many hours). This has all changed now with the creation of the Cloud Hosted Virtual PBX. This gives the same functionality as a traditional PBX, at only a fraction of the cost. Plus, the intuitive web interface makes configuration for your clients much easier, and configuration changes that used to take hours can now be done in mere seconds!

PSTN and ISDN Closure

Due to the increase in popularity of VoIP and the exponential cost of maintaining an ageing infrastructure, BT is decommissioning its PTSN and ISDN network in 2025, meaning that VoIP will be the only option available to customers in need of a phone system in a few years’ time.

The Internet

As great and fast as modern broadband is it isn’t immune to the occasional outage. So, having your phone system running through the internet is all well and good… until disaster strikes! This, however, can easily be solved by implementing a backup line, or purchasing a leased line with guaranteed upload and download speeds. Again, this doesn’t entirely cut out the risk of an outage, but it will certainly minimise it. Plus, with VoIP smartphone apps, this will ensure that your workers will still be able to make and receive calls, as long as they have mobile data.

Broadband Quality

Alongside the necessity of a stable broadband connection, you also need a reasonably fast internet connection. This can be problematic for businesses located in rural areas, where the broadband network isn’t quite as advanced as for people located in urban areas. Low quality broadband can cause a severe lack in call quality and can sometimes lead to a call being dropped altogether. Therefore, before investing in a VoIP solution, it’s best to check out your internet speed to ensure that it can handle VoIP traffic well.

Limited Location Tracking for Emergency Calls

Due to the portability and accessibility of VoIP, it makes it hard for the emergency services to pinpoint where the call originates from. It used to be the case that the emergency services could tell your location due to your geographical phone number (i.e. 0161 would be Manchester) however as VoIP allows users to communicate from anywhere in the world, this is no longer possible. Whilst this is a disadvantage for customers running a business that frequently requires use of the emergency services, it can be easily overcome by clearly communicating your location to the emergency services.

You got this far!

I hope this article has given you a better understanding of what VoIP is, along with its pros and cons. Whilst VoIP is the future of communication technology, we also must be aware of its potential pitfalls, should you not have the right help on hand to make the transition. So, if you’re ready to make the leap into VoIP, then contact Tech Savvy Solutions and speak with one of our Savvy Specialists will be more than happy to assist.