WHAT IS VOIP AND HOW DOES It WORKS?
Since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, VoIP systems have established themselves as one of the best communications investments a business can make.
When millions of people’s working arrangements were changed almost overnight and business continuity plans were put to the test, VoIP was one of the key infrastructure solutions that helped businesses keep their people connected and transition to the ‘new normal.
But whether you are back in the office full–time or are transitioning to a hybrid working model post-COVID, VoIP is here to stay.
You may be wondering, what is VoIP technology, how will it benefit your business, and what are your options? Let’s take a look and answer some common questions.
PHONE SYSTEMS WHAT DOES VOIP MEAN?
VoIP simply stands for Voice over IP. When we think of IP, we think of networks and the internet. VoIP systems are essentially the real-time transfer of voice and information between IP addresses via the internet.
When we make a call, there are two ways this transfer of voice and data can occur – either by routing calls through a traditional circuit-switched network to the PSTN – Public Switched Telephone Network – or by using your business’ internet connection.
WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF VOIP AND ITS USES?
To give you an example, many people are familiar with Skype – one of the first applications that became popular for providing video chat and voice calls between computers and other electronic devices. Skype uses Voice over IP by connecting your endpoint (your computer or device) to the public telephone network over the internet.
Or you could use a physical desk phone or landline to connect to the PTSN, with the difference being you have a physical endpoint (your desk phone) rather than a mobile application on a device.
DO I NEED REGULAR INTERNET FOR VOIP?
VoIP works by using a cloud-based system to manage the routing of calls between communications devices and the outside world. This process is run by a PBX – Private Branch Exchange – a server located either onsite (for very large businesses) or a secure data center managed by a hosted services provider.
WHAT ARE THE BEST BENEFITS OF VOIP?
The beauty of VoIP systems is that they give businesses advanced features by managing and streamlining all voice and data communications centrally, no matter how many employees you have, the devices they are using, or where they are located. This includes all communications – calls, video conferencing, and team collaboration.
Businesses can now leverage these hosted PBX solutions. Avoid making large upfront investments. Paying a monthly fee for using the secure and sophisticated infrastructure of offsite hosted services providers.
IS VOIP LESS EXPENSIVE THAN LANDLINES?
VoIP subscription-based pricing is cheaper and much better value than old-fashioned, on-premises PBX for the vast majority of businesses. This is because maintaining a non-hosted digital PBX phone system requires significant investment and space due to expensive equipment that needs to be maintained by highly-trained specialists.
HOW DO I CONNECT VOIP TO YOUR BUSINESS?
When considering a VoIP system for your office, it’s important to review your existing phone system and needs to decide whether it’s best to keep your current system and incorporate VoIP functionality, retain only part of it, or replace the entire system.
FTG’s team of experts can help you find the most efficient and cost-effective way to do this. Sometimes, a total replacement is not feasible because your existing phone system isn’t easily changed over to softphones or even desktop VoIP handsets however rest assured, we have a range of options to help you make the right decision.
ARE VOIP CALLS USUALLY FREE?
What about the call quality? Is there such a thing as new vs old VoIP systems?
Many people ask us about call quality because they may have tried VoIP 10 years ago and found it to be unreliable for making calls due to poor sound quality.
In these cases, the quality of sound was less to do with VoIP itself, and more to do with the strength of the business’ internet connection. Going back a decade or so, many businesses were running an ADSL connection that had a one-megabit upload, yet a phone call requires about 200 to 300 kilobytes to achieve good quality. So, it’s no wonder the call quality wasn’t great.
WHAT IS VOIP USED FOR IN AUSTRALIA?
Australia’s NBN now offers fast-speed internet packages for 100/50Mbps or 50/25Mbps which are fast enough to produce 4K movie streaming, gaming, and large file downloads. This means, there are virtually no issues with VoIP call quality these days. However, as an option to give you complete peace of your mind, you can also prioritize your VoIP traffic to own your router so that it recognizes and places SIP calls first in line, over other applications, and this can be done 1000s of times a second!
CAN VOIP BE PLUGGED INTO ANY OLD ROUTER IN AN OFFICE?
Initially, some customers think it might be better to have their PBX housed in their office however for the majority of businesses, we find using a hosted VoIP services provider is usually a better and safer option.
This is because, businesses are responsible for any problems that may occur with an on-site PBX such as internet connectivity, power, fire, or theft. It also takes up valuable office space. They’re also responsible for managing the infrastructure and paying technicians to make (what should be) simple changes. And, if or when the PBX becomes outdated or needs upgrading as the business grows, there is an additional financial cost on top, and so on.
CAN I USE A NEW ROUTER FOR VOIP?
If you pay a subscription base fee to your service provider, you are also paying them to manage all the upkeep and risk. The call flows, changes, and ongoing maintenance are all taken care of in a secure environment and because your PBX is connected to a larger cloud server, the monthly cost is cheaper than buying your own. It means you can easily change call forwarding, take your office desktop phone home to use, without any additional charges because it is all covered in your hosting subscription fee.
Over the past two years, there has also been a dramatic rise in, people working from home. In fact, almost half of Australians are now doing some work from home, and the latest evidence is that it is here to stay. It’s another reason that it makes sense to have flexibility within your workplace and location to suit the changing expectations of employees. Hosted VoIP services can adapt with you, your employees, and your office over the short, medium, and long term.
DOES VOIP WORK WITH WIRELESS INTERNET IN AUSTRALIA?
Personalization is a big feature when it comes to VoIP phone systems, especially with such a large range of brands, products, and functionalities in the market.
Customization is key to getting the best of your PBX’s since no two businesses are the same.
Some of the popular features that businesses are interested in are Voicemail, Voicemail to Email, Simultaneous Ringing (also known as Hunt Groups), or Music on Hold.
VOIP PHONE WORK & THEY ARE CHEAP
Follow ME: This is also a great function where an incoming call rings on both your desk phone and mobile at the same time.
Auto-attendant: This helps your business direct incoming calls to the right person: i.e. “press one for sales, please press two for accounts” and so on.
Caller ID: See who is calling. Perhaps you need to forward your desk phone to your mobile but you don’t want the calls to appear on your mobile as your own landline number. Caller ID solves this problem by showing the original caller’s number on your mobile.
In the end, your VoIP system is completely customizable to your business, and there are tonnes of features our team can talk you through to maximize the benefits of your chosen solution.