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Chapter 2: VoIP Phone Systems

Determine If a VoIP Phone System Is the Best System for Your Small Business

business voip system

This is the second chapter of The Ultimate Guide to Small Business Phone Systems, designed to help you make an educated decision on a phone system for your company. The previous chapter discussed multi-line phone systems. The next chapters will teach you about PBX phone systems and Cloud phone systems. This chapter will give you the information you need to learn whether a VoIP service will benefit your business. 


 

The Top VoIP Phone Systems in 2018

 

Mitel5330e Avaya9611g voip-phone-mitel-5320
 

Mitel 5330e

 

Avaya 9611G

 

Grandstream DP720


 

What are VoIP Phone Systems?

headphones

Voice over IP (VoIP), also known as voice over internet protocol, refers to a phone system that transmits voice and media over internet protocol (IP) networks instead of a traditional phone connection.

VoIP technology works by channeling voice into data packets, transferring the data packets through an IP network, and turning them back into voice at the end of the connection. The back-and-forth transmission of these data packets makes conversation with your customers and colleagues possible.

A business VoIP phone system is composed of software used to manage phone numbers, features, clients, hardware, equipment (i.e. phones), and, most importantly, network connections. This set up is similar to host PBX, sometimes called IP PBX, but business VoIP solutions include additional communications capabilities. Additional components can include location-tracking software for enhanced 911 (E911) and management systems to collect statistics for voice-quality management. All of these components work together to unify communication.

VoIP eliminates the use of traditional circuit-switched telephone networks, reducing infrastructure costs for your small business. They provide versatility traditional phone systems cannot, though they do require more purchasing consideration and are subject to normal internet issues. 

The following sections will guide you through common questions, pros and cons, and a look at whether your company would benefit from a VoIP business solution.



VoIP FAQs

telephone head set

What is an IP phone line?

An IP phone line is a type of phone communication system that transmits your voice over the internet using IP telephony technology instead of a traditional phone connection. Skype and Google Voice are examples of IP phone line services.

What are IP calls?

VoIP calls encapsulate voice into data packets and transmit them across internet networks. The data packets reassemble once they reach the other end of the connection, allowing a conversation to take place.

IP calls are also capable of transmitting multimedia across internet protocol (IP) networks, enabling the user to send text or video conference. Many medium-sized businesses use this feature to engage in a meeting via video chat or send files to co-workers.


Save40withVoIP


What is a VoIP phone number used for?

A VoIP phone number is similar to traditional phone numbers; it’s a series of digits used to make and receive calls by connecting two people who want to talk.

One of the main differences between VoIP phone numbers and traditional phone numbers has to do with area codes. With a VoIP line, you can actually choose the area code you want your number to have. It’s important to note, though, that not all your customers will have VoIP phone numbers—many may still use traditional landlines. It’s best to purchase a phone number with a local area code, as this ensures your customers can place local calls to reach you.

The phone number isn’t necessarily tied to a specific device (i.e. office phone), meaning calls can be made and answered from various devices and various locations. The flexibility of a VoIP phone number gives you the opportunity to connect with your colleagues and customers from your desk phone, desktop, home office phone, laptop, etc. With mobile VoIP service, you can also forward your business phone number to your mobile phone.

Where do I get VoIP phone service?

When you think of phone service, most people think of big phone companies and carriers, like AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner, and so on. But advancements in internet telephony technology have created other viable options. You can use your high-speed internet access and VoIP services to set up your business phone service for less money than paying for multiple phone lines. Plus, you get more features than traditional phone lines or PBX.

You can set up your own, or you can go with a business VoIP phone system that’s already proven. Business VoIP providers like RingCentral Office, OpenScape Voice, Ooma Office, Vonage and Frontier Communications are popular options—Frontier offers the highly ranked Mitel business VoIP phone system. This article compares business VoIP providers and cloud PBX services in North America. A good place to start when choosing a service provider is checking service availability in your area.



Advantages and Disadvantages of a Business VoIP Phone System

ip telephone

Advantages of VoIP

Business VoIP phone systems may benefit you by being flexible and scalable. Additionally, your small business will often see cost savings with VoIP.

    • Cost-Effectiveness—a VoIP service transmits via the internet, a commodity your business likely has in place currently. Additional IP phone lines are more affordable than traditional phone lines. Long distance and international calls are generally cheaper as well – as much as 40% for local calls. If you have mulitiple offices, calls between this locations connected on your VoIP network will not incur toll or long-distance charges.
    • Portability—You can connect to your VoIP number using any high-speed internet connection, meaning you can communicate with your customers from anywhere.
    • Scalability—Additional lines are affordable and simple to set up, making it easy to keep up with your growing business.
    • Multimedia Application—Video and text are also transmittable via IP phone lines, permitting you to engage in video chat or to send files.
    • Simple Installation—Installing a VoIP phone system may not require cabling your office beyond the existing internet network, making installation quick and easy.
    • Modern Features—Many enhanced features that would usually cost extra with traditional phone systems are supported and included with VoIP. Examples include Bluetooth support, conferencing, and call recording.
    • Cloud-Based Hosting—a VoIP service provides businesses with the opportunity to move their phone management to the Cloud. Small businesses choose Cloud-based VoIP to take advantage of potential savings and the provider’s expertise – VoIP can slash costs by up to 90% for companies getting started.

VoIPCutCosts90



Disadvantages of VoIP

Business VoIP phone systems require reliable internet connections and hardware. Additionally, they are less reliable in regards to power outages, emergencies, and security threats.

  • Internet Dependence—Fast, reliable internet is needed to use VoIP. If your internet is disrupted even temporarily, your phone call could drop.
  • Computer Issues—With VoIP, all phone calls are subject to the limitations of normal computer issues. Due to bandwidth requirements, some calls may lag, delay, or disappear. You’ll want to ensure you have adequate bandwidth when installing a VoIP system for the first time.
  • Power Outages—Power outages affect your internet, leaving your business without access to a phone system. However, you can opt for automatic failover routing to send your calls to your cellphone number in times of power outages.
  • Emergency Tracking—VoIP systems are harder for emergency services to trace because lines aren’t tied to specific devices. Fortunately, location tracking software can help solve this issue.
  • Security—VoIP phone systems are susceptible to hacking, worms, and viruses, so you may need to take extra steps to protect your system.
  • Equipment—Specific hardware is necessary, including IP phones or adapters to allow the system to transmit over an internet network.
  • Decreased Sound Quality—Due to packet loss, VoIP sound quality may not be as clear as traditional phone lines. This phenomenon has been mitigated as VoIP telephony has matured over the past decade. 

 

Is a Business VoIP Phone System Right for You?

small business owner on his cell phone

For small- and mid-sized businesses looking to set up unified communications systems, a VoIP solution is a great option. VoIP business phone systems are typically more affordable than PBX solutions. If you go with a hosted VoIP setup, where the hardware is off-site and everything operates through the cloud, you can also save space and maintenance costs.

A VoIP phone system for small business, like Frontier AnyWare, also offers advanced capabilities, bringing features such as three-way calling, auto attendant, and mobile phone twinning together into a true unified communications solution. Add a mobile app and the ability to choose your own toll-free numbers, and your small business will be ready to play in the big leagues.

VoIP may not be the best option for your small business if you don’t have a reliable internet connection. Regular power outages in your area and the need for extreme security are also concerns you should consider before purchasing.

On the other hand, business VoIP may be the best option if you need portability and flexibility. Plans for growing your business and the need for modern, enhanced features are also reasons to consider purchasing VoIP.

How much does business VoIP cost?

Business VoIP pricing is as flexible as the VoIP phone system itself. Pricing varies based on your current system and your company’s needs.

Often, VoIP service providers offer discounts on pricing when you bundle business VoIP service with other solutions, like high-speed internet connection or long distance phone services. When you consider these types of phone bundles, be sure to look into activation fees or other costs. And see if you sign a year contract, you can lower your price. 

What type of business VoIP phones can I buy?

An analog telephone adaptor (ATA), which connects your traditional phone to a VoIP network, starts at around $35. High-quality IP phones start at around $100. Business voice over IP (VoIP) phones range from entry-level phones to sophisticated IP phones and devices with cordless handsets, conference units, and attendant consoles.


 

The Top VoIP Phone Systems

There are a ton of handsets on the market that work with small business VoIP solutions. To help you narrow the field and choose the right phone for your business, we’ve put together an overview of three top VoIP phones. Check out these VoIP phone systems for small business reviews and see which one is right for your business.

Mitel 5330e IP Phone

Mitel5330e

This desk unit offers tons of customizability, so you can set it up exactly like you want and match it to your workflow. Unfortunately, customizability sometimes comes at the expense of ease of use, and some users have found the phone to be a little too much. This IP phone is perfect for telephone power users and businesses that need a high degree of customization.

 Benefits:  Common Challenges:
  • Large, backlit display for easy readability.
  • Twenty-four programmable keys so you can easily access the features you use most.
  • Price is a little high.
  • Large number of features may be overkill for some.

Avaya 9611G IP Phone

Avaya9611g

The Avaya 9611G is a very popular office phone system for small businesses. While the display is on the small side, it makes up for it by being full color and highly legible. The unit looks attractive on the desk with its textured black top and contrasting white buttons. And the price is a little more affordable for bulk orders, making it perfect for smaller businesses. Call quality is also excellent.

 Benefits:  Common Challenges:
  • Affordable price for small businesses.
  • Streamlined features make it easy to use.
  • Not as customizable as some other options.
  • Still expensive, at over $130 per handset.

Mitel 5320 IP Phone

voip-phone-mitel-5320

Some businesses need a cost-effective phone for basic users rather than a more expensive option with extraneous features. If that sounds like your organization, then the Mitel 5320 IP Phone is ideal for you. It’s simple to set up and use with contextual buttons, a large display, and eight programmable buttons. You can configure functions on an individual or system-wide level. There’s even a desktop tool for easy user management. Heavy talkers will appreciate clear audio, a full-duplex speakerphone, and headset compatibility. Overall, this is an excellent option for companies that need a hassle-free phone everyone can use.

 Benefits:  Common Challenges:
  • An affordable price point for an entry-level phone.
  • Easy to use and program buttons as your needs change.
  • The sleek design may be slippery for multitaskers.
  • Some may want more functions and features.

If you’re looking to save costs, you can lease equipment from your business VoIP provider. With a lease, you can add business VoIP phones as you need them without the upfront cost of buying the handsets. Depending on the features you choose, a high-end business VoIP phone can run $350 or more.

Frontier has years of experience and strong partnerships with the industry’s leading business VoIP equipment manufacturers. Along with our dependable business VoIP solution, we also provide customer service and tech support that are locally based and available 24/7 every day of the year. With Frontier, you can count on our reliability from day one. Learn more about Frontier Business VoIP service
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