Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Is A VoIP Phone Up To Business Level Use?

Whether use is from a traditional brick and mortar business location ... or the growing movement for remote work such as from home ... is a VoIP phone a viable alternative for small and medium business applications?

Short answer ... yes, but.

VOIP will either suck really bad, or work like a charm, depending on a few variables.

1.) Your internet connection (Cable, T1, PRI etc..)

2.) The QOS ability on your Internet Connection

3.) Your VOIP provider

Here's a quick list of considerations that should guide your decision:

1.) Are the remote workers integrating with an existing phone system at the central office? (If so, that limits your choices a bit. This also means you may need to issue custom configured routers and handsets to the users that automatically establish VPN tunnels to provide dialtone.)

2.) Are you giving users routers that come preconfigured, or are you hoping to just use existing Linksys/Netgear/DLink home routers? (as mentioned previously, QoS matters a TON. Many enterprise VOIP deployments fail because QoS isn't set up properly.)

3.) Are you expecting users to use home phones, or business class phones for work? (Business class phones generally have better electrical components that offer noise cancellation, higher sound quality, better speakerphones, headset support, etc.)

4.) Are you having your employees send you a series of speed tests of their home line to quickly determine their remote feasibility? (Internet upload speed is easily the #1 concern for quality of VOIP @home)

These are the most common areas to focus on.

Before we deploy these solutions you must do a few things.

1. You need to do a trace route to ensure that there is not too many hops from your location to your provider's server. If there is more than 20-25 hops then the service is probably going to be bad.

2. Conduct a ping test from location to see what the packet lost is and to determine the quality of your internet connection. Run the ping test for approximately 10-20 minutes.

3. Run a speed test to see if you are getting the speed that you are paying for.

4. Sometimes the quality of your line can be degraded from lightning strikes and when your are surfing the internet and checking emails you will not notice it until you are using Voice over IP. That is something your internet service provider can repair. You might also ask if they can monitor your connection and run a constant ping on your modem.

5. If you are using a SOHO router for your voice you may want to consider upgrading to an router that provides QOS(Quality of Service) to manage the connection better.

I strongly suggest looking through the list of business and home VoIP service providers recommended here:

Business VoIP Providers

I'd also take advantage of their "Best Rate Calculator" tool to search and compare VoIP providers in your area.

For more robust business communication systems I recommend using the free services available from Business VoIP Solution

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2 Comments:

Blogger blizzardboy said...

Like anything, you get what you pay for.

And as the article says, the internet connection is really crucial. It is nice to be in Japan with some of the fastest / inexpensive connections in the world. Feel sorry for people in less advanced countries who still have to use dial-up!

12:36 AM  
Anonymous VoIP Phone Service said...

yes you must have internet before you switch to voip phone. However, there is one more thing that you need to check. Most of the large voip phone service providers like vonage etc. have hiddnen charges. For example, installantion and shipment charges are different for Canada and USA you would realize that only when you will be paying. They don't mention these hiddne charges clearly on their websites.

6:32 AM  

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