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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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Business VoIP phone systems may benefit you by being flexible and scalable. Additionally, your small business will often see cost savings with 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.
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.
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.
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. You can buy these at big-box electronics stores, or online at Amazon or VoIP supply. 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 Mitel MiVoice 5304 IP Phone is one example of a cost-effective entry-level display phone with a small base. This phone can handle two lines, perfect for a small business. It has 8 programmable keys. There are many brands of business VoIP phone systems in the market. Of these brands, each company offers many different models of business VoIP phones.
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.