VoIP (or Voice over Internet Protocol) has a lot of advantages for small and medium-sized businesses.
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Since the early days of the Internet, the business community has been drooling over the possibility of using the Internet for long-distance voice communication. Advances in telecommunications and technology have now reached a level that makes VoIP a realistic option for most companies.
Instead of using traditional telephone or mobile resources, VoIP translates audio into packets of information that are transmitted via the Internet. Consumer grade VoIP is simple to install and requires only a phone, an adapter, Internet access and VoIP subscription. Business grade VoIP phone systems are more complex and are geared toward internal communication between branches or personnel.
VoIP Business Phone Systems
The advantage of a VoIP business phone system is that it conveniently connects multiple sites and remote workers without incurring long-distance charges. For all intents and purposes, the VoIP system operates much the same way as a commercial phone system at a single location. Users are brought together in a single phone system with features like extension to extension calling and the ability to monitor system interactions. Field personnel can even access the VoIP system with mobile phone technology.
However, VoIP business phone systems have a critical limitation in that they do not replace the need for a system that handles external calls. For that, you'll have to work with your provider to create a seamless, integrated solution.
VoIP Phone System Requirements
The transition to a VoIP business phone system will likely require an investment in hardware and/or software upgrades. To function properly, VoIP requires a centralized call-managing device, VoIP-capable phones, a data network and other voice applications. The call managing device must be a dedicated piece of hardware (IP PBX) that is located on a server with software that has been designed for the VoIP system.
It's possible that you may be able to use your company's existing digital phones and computer network for business VoIP. But it's also possible that you'll need to upgrade your phones and hardware. Assess your current technology early in the process so you can factor the cost of hardware and phone upgrades into your purchasing decision.