Thursday, May 06, 2010

Is It Worth It For A Business To Go With A VoIP Only System?

Good question - as ever it all depends on what you're trying to achieve! What's the driver to change? Are you looking to reduce costs through the virtualization of multiple sites each running their own telephony or is this about upgrading a single site?

It's worth pausing for a moment to be clear about your understanding of a 'VoIP only system'. There are a number of variables in the mix that could all impact upon the 'right choice' for your specific situation/requirements. Below are a few things to consider:

VoIP TELEPHONE SYSTEMS:

You'd be hard pressed to find any new telephony platform, let's call it a PBX, from any vendor that doesn't contain an element of IP carrying Voice - i.e. VoIP. The difference between PBX platforms, and even between configurations of same platforms, will be that some may will employ VoIP to a small extent (e.g. a few internal signalling cards but traditional ISDN circuits and digital handsets) whilst others may be fully 'end-to-end' VoIP PBXs (IP instead of ISDN trunks, all signalling and processing components fully IP, IP gateways and IP handsets on the desk or even softphones on your PC).

LAN/WAN ENVIRONMENT:

If you are going to run a converged voice and data network then a lot of VoIP deployments can come unstuck if you haven't taken the time to validate that your LAN and/or WAN network(s) are capable of supporting the additional bandwidth required to carry voice traffic and are capable of prioritising Voice over Data (aka Quality of Service). If you don't have the skills/experience in-house then the potential service/PBX provider should be capable of providing you with a network readiness test (insist on written results).

CONNECTIVTY - ISDN, VoIP TRUNKS OR THE INTERNET?

An understanding of what your business/operational drivers are will determine the most appropriate choice of trunk connectivity to the outside world. ISDN trunks are the defacto choice however SIP trunks are about to make a big impact as they'll offer equivalent bandwidth and resilience to ISDN but at lower cost. The more commercially aggressive telcos are pushing SIP trunks as they'll effectively offer you a 'big IP pipe' for you to plug into for all your data and voice connectivity needs and they'll offer appropriate SLAs to guarantee uptime.

Avoid basic internet connectivity services like broadband for carrying business grade telephony services as it's unlikley to meet your 'quality' expectations - unless you're located really close to a BT exchange to take advantage of SDSL services (which are still very expensive).

HOSTED TELEPHONY:

Regarding good value vs hidden extras - I think commercial preparation and diligence is important in whatever you're looking to buy! A general comment is that the hosted market is growing and so is the choice of providers. If your/ your users requirements are basic then this may not be a bad place to start ..... and anyone worth dealing with may be prepared to let you trial their service before you commit the whole company to a contract. If your requirements are more sophisticated then you may prefer to stay with a 'premise' telephony solution.

For no cost help navigating through all the above "questions" and options simply request help and rate quotes via Business VoIP Solution

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My company went to a VoIP Only solution about a year ago. We are a small medical co-op with three offices and 17 doctors total. We wanted centralized Billing & Scheduling and our provider, Comvoice, helped us establish this along with removing our Point to Point T1s for Cloud Based Networking.

We have two ISPs in our building with Automatic Failover for both Voice and Data being provided by Comvoice. In the past year even though both of our ISPs have failed us at one time or another, we have not had any actual downtime.

The bottom line is if you choose your provider properly and design your network with redundancy VoIP Only is ready for businesses today.

12:36 PM  

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