Monday, August 13, 2012

Is VoIP All It's Cracked Up To Be?

Some VOIP solutions are horrible, and some are great. For a small deployment I would recommend phonebooth.com. They have a hosted voip pbx solution that is amazing.

If you're doing a larger deployment, or just really don't trust VOIP, I suggest switchvox. It's a pbx that resides in your office. The phones connect via voip on your lan, and the server can hand off calls to a traditional E1/T1 connection. So you get the reliability of traditional phone network connections while enjoying the benefits of a VOIP system internally. You can also connect the server to an internet connection and use SIP trunks if you decide you want true VOIP.

From my own experience, the biggest factor in VOIP quality is the quality (not speed) of your internet connection. For instance in an east coast metro area you can get great internet quality for VOIP use, however in the Midwest, like Chicago, quality is poor and makes VOIP inconsistent. So in the Midwest I would use switchvox with a T1 hand-off, but in NY or Philadelphia I would use phonebooth.com.

VoIP is the future and other than maybe a tiny amount of very small systems, almost all phone system vendors are selling nothing but VoIP based system.

VoIP has the advantage because the phone set is essentially a computer that runs software. Therefore with software upgrades you get more features or fixes that TDM based systems would require hardware changes for.

Typically VoIP based systems get bad reviews from bad installs and quality issues. The network is key and properly setting up Quality of Service (QoS) it critical. Without QoS setup properly, VoIP will be miserable. If your network is setup properly you will generally not have issues so that will depend on your network team (in-house or external vendor) knowing how to setup and tune QoS.

One of my friends switched from older ISDN technology to newer VoIP technology for 800 phones on one network. They did their homework and ran many tests on the network before buying the solution and even did some tweaking after installation to fine tune the QoS properly. They have no issues or network slow downs.

VoIP is used in large companies and hospitals because the technology is the future and when properly installed works great while cutting costs and allows far greater flexibility for multiple network locations (Campus environments or even geographical environments).

Many users report that the calls seemed clearer even though the older ISDN technology was also digital. Many also have some customization specifically for them that would have been difficult to implement on older technology. One downfall of VoIP is it does depend on your network and if your network goes down, so do your phone capabilities. Something to consider when designing your network.

To find a suitable VoIP provider for small deployments (including residential) I suggest using the search and compare feature here ....

VoIP Comparison

For larger VoIP deployments including most businesses you can request a comparison of available providers including free quotes here ....

Business VoIP

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