1. What is VoIP?

Voice over Internet Protocol is simply the transmission of voice traffic over IP-based networks, such as the Internet. The Internet Protocol (IP) was originally designed for data networking. The success of IP in becoming a world standard for data has led to its adaption for voice networking. 

Protocols which are used to carry voice signals over the IP network are commonly referred to as Voice over IP or VoIP protocols. They may be viewed as commercial realizations of the experimental Network Voice Protocol (1973) invented for the ARPANET.ce providers. Some cost savings are due to utilizing a single network to carry voice and data, especially where users have existing underutilized network capacity they can use for VoIP at no additional cost. VoIP to VoIP phone calls on any provider are typically free, while VoIP to P S T N calls generally cost the VoIP user.

2. What are the benefits of VoIP?

There are many benefits to using the alternative of a VoIP Phone System. The biggest advantage VoIP is for businesses with multiple locations for a number of reasons:

  • Any and all offices on a LAN or WAN can have the benefits of having a common office phone system such as extension dialing, seamless call transfers, and other features such as a single receptionist, auto-attendant and voice mail system.
  • Sharing of features can enhance collaboration as employees at different locations can truly feel like they are part of the same organization.
  • If calls are on the company network, the phone calls are free – even if offices are located thousands of miles apart.
  • A more streamlined network infrastructure and improved administration. For network administrators, VoIP systems mean they only have one network to maintain instead of two. There is still separate phone system hardware to maintain – but only one network. The Move, Add, Change (MAC) process also is greatly simplified, because almost all VoIP systems are configurable through a web interface that can be managed by the administrator.
  • Streamlined network infrastructure and improved administration, as for network administrators, VoIP systems mean they only have one network to maintain instead of two.
  • Simplification of the Move, Add, Change (MAC) process, as almost all VoIP systems are configurable through a web interface that can be managed by the administrator. This also removes the need to call your vendor for every relocation of an internal phone or change in call diversions or other simple administrative change in your phone system .
  • Mobile and remote employees can connect to the company network via a Virtual Private Network (VPN) through a VoIP phone system which allows them to make phone calls from the road at no extra charge.

Other familiar and essential phone system features like caller ID, call forwarding, simultaneous ringing across multiple phones, and other features you would find in traditional phone systems are available in most VoIP systems. VoIP phone systems can also support advanced Computer Telephony Integration applications, such as call center management.

3. How can VoIP save money for my business?

VoIP phone systems have the ability to save your business money in a number of different ways. These include:

  • If calls are on the company network, the phone calls are free – even if offices are located thousands of miles apart.
  • Low ongoing costs and savings which stem from the streamlined network infrastructure and improved administration. For network administrators, VoIP systems mean they only have one network to maintain instead of two. There is still separate phone system hardware to maintain – but only one network. The Move, Add, Change (MAC) process also is greatly simplified, because almost all VoIP systems are configurable through a web interface that can be managed by the administrator. This means lower ongoing costs — you will not need to call your vendor for every relocation of an internal phone or change in call diversions or other simple administrative change in your phone system .
  • Multiple offices can share a single receptionist, auto-attendant, and voice mail system.
  • Another significant cost saving is for benefit is for remote employees. If a remote users connect to the company network via a Virtual Private Network (VPN), a VoIP phone system allows them to make phone calls from the road at no extra charge. One salesperson on an extended trip can save hundreds of dollars in cell phone or hotel long-distance charges. All the user needs is a “soft phone,” (software that lets a laptop function as an IP phone), a PC microphone, and speakers.

4. What is Skype? Is it just for personal use or for business too?

Skype is a free piece of software that allows you to make calls from your computer, (using a VoIP system). Skype allows you to talk for as long as you like without worrying about the cost or the distance. With Skype you can:

  • Make free Skype-to-Skype calls to anyone, anywhere in the world
  • Make video calls for free across the world
  • Send cheap text messages and chat with up to 100 people in group chats
  • Host easy to use conference calling
  • Transfer large files easily and instantly with up to four people for free
  • Call ordinary home and mobile phones for a small fee with SkypeOut
  • Get a SkypeIn number, so that people using home and mobile phones can call you

While Skype is most commonly associated with personal use, Skype also withholds a number of business features, such as:

  • Inclusion of Windows Installer (commonly known as MSI).
  • Increased security for business users.
  • Easy deployment to multiple machines in your company.
  • More control for IT administrators.
  • Manage multiple accounts with the Business Control Panel.

5. Is the phone system I have now compatible with VoIP calls?

Yes, your system will be compatible. You dont need some sort of specialised phone system to make VoIP calls, and in fact almost any system is compatible. However, while your current system may be compatible it will not be able to carry out the various extra benefits of a new VoIP system.

6. Can the provider I am with currently offer me VoIP calls?

Many of the large and more established carriers do now offer VoIP calls, so chances are your provider can give you this option. However, one problem that presents itself is that many providers plans are designed for home applications and as a result are not entirely up to delivering the quality and reliability demanded by businesses and organisations. As a result, some providers are a better choice than others when looking for a VoIP provider.

7. Do I need an entire phone system to make VoIP phone calls?

Not necessarily. Some vendors (such as Skype) do offer VoIP calls for single phones.

8. If I don’t have a whole phone system, do I need a VoIP phone to make VoIP phone calls?

Yes, you do. It’s not possible use a regular handset to make VoIP phone calls (without a phone system). The bottom line here is that without a phone system, you will need to purchase a VoIP telephone handset to make VoIP calls.

9. What is the quality of VoIP calls like?

VoIP call quality really depends on the provider, its Quality Of Service and the internet speed available. If all of these three factors are of a good level, then a VoIP phone call can actually turn out to be virtually impossible to differentiate from a normal phone call. If you arent able to cover all of these bases with decent quality, then it is possible or even likely that you will experience a less than average call quality.

10. What will happen if my VoIP Network goes down?

If your supplier doesnt set you up a system with allowance for redundancy, then in the event of VoIP network failure you will not be able to receive or make phone calls.

Hence, be sure to keep in mind when setting up any VoIP solution, that its a very good idea to ensure that redundancy measures are in place. This is an absolute must for any phone critical businesses or organisations.

11. Do I need to change my internet service to use a VoIP phone system?

It is important to note that the speed of your internet service will have a direct impact on the quality of VoIP calls. If you currently have a very basic internet connection then it is likely that you will experience very low call quality with VoIP. You can ask your internet provider if your service is at the required level of speed for VoIP.

12. Can I scale a VoIP phone system?

Most VoIP phone systems will allow you to scale, just like a normal phone system. Make sure you let us know how much expansion you want to allow for so you get the right solution for today and tomorrow.

13. If I have 2 sites do I need a VoIP phone system in each location?

If you have 2 sites, there are two options available to you. You can either choose to install a VoIP phone system at each site, or a system on site #1 and only VoIP handsets in site #2. The first option is usually the most preferred solution on grounds of reliability due to the fact its totally reliable across a VPN. However, this usually comes at a cost to the business and aside from this, both solutions can achieve the same results.

14. How complicated will the transition from traditional phone lines to VoIP be?

You may think about the idea of switching systems as quite a laborious task, however in reality the transition from traditional phone lines to a VoIP system is actually relatively simple. It’s basically a matter of registration, surveying your companys particular needs, and service provisioning. In fact one of the most attractive things about switching to VoIP is certainly the plug in and go simplicity of it.

15. How long will it take to switch over to VoIP?

As a very general rule, the VoIP service should be up and running for you after between 3 and 15 business days. As you can see, that’s quite a large range. The length of the VoIP set-up period­ really depends entirely on both the size and the requirements of your business or organisation.

16. Will I have to change phone numbers if I switch to VoIP?

In most cases, you will not have to change your phone number as a result of switching to VoIP. However, in some cases there may be a short period in which you will need to have your number diverted to a different range until the new port is completed.

17. Does a VoIP based system cost more than a regular PBX system?

It really depends on how many handsets and lines are required, but in many cases the VoIP based system will cost less and is easier to maintain in the long-run than a regular PBX system. Whilst traditionally, each phone and each computer had to have its own line to connect to the central network of the building, now only one is necessary. Just as your computer sends out digital data over the corporate Ethernet network, your voice over IP phone can turn your voice into digital data and send it the same way and over the same cable.

18. What impact will VoIP have on my internet connection?

As a general rule of thumb, VoIP connections will use about 90 kbps per connection, so to know how much this will affect your internet, find out your upstream bandwidth you should be able to figure out what kind of results you’ll see.

19. How many phone calls can a VoIP system support simultaneously?

Very generally speaking, with an average business-class cable modem connection your VoIP system should be able to handle up to roughly 3 simultaneous calls, and if you were to upgrade to a fast cable modem connection (or a T1 connection) you should be able to handle closer to 6-10 simultaneous calls at peak times. This is also assuming that those users will also be using the internet.