Many years ago, before VoIP was introduced to the consumer and business markets as an alternative option to the legacy system, businesses had little choice when it came to the telecommunications provider. Purchasing lines and trunks from the telephone company and deploying a Private Branch Exchange (PBX) was the only viable solution for voice calls.
These legacy systems, which are still in use today, are copper loops that carry the electronic signal between an origination point and a termination point. The system produces the best possible voice quality calls for users, and while it is, fundamentally, a superior system to VoIP in general, it is expensive to maintain and difficult to scale.
When the Voice over Internet Protocol was first introduced, people had no idea how quickly it would be adopted by business and consumers alike. Instead of using signal switching, as the legacy systems, VoIP uses packet switching to route calls. VoIP made it easy to deploy and scale telephone lines and trunk codes quickly but with one major disadvantage over the legacy system: voice quality.
Choosing a VoIP System that Works with Your Business
Using a VoIP system for your company’s telephone system has many built-in benefits including scalability, analytics, and full integration with other systems, such as email, video conferencing, call logs, and automatic attendants. Another benefit is the reduced cost of operations and the easy scalability to the system. This is especially beneficial to small and medium-sized businesses that gain a feature-rich system similar to a large enterprise system but without the cost. However, not all VoIP systems are created equal, and manager and decision makers should keep in mind some key considerations when choosing a VoIP system.
Factors Affecting Voice Quality
VoIP systems carry voice traffic over the internet as data. The voice signal is broken down at the origination point and reconstructed at the terminate point during a conversation. As far as gold standards in voice quality go, nothing compares to the old copper legacy system but the cost-effective VoIP systems can match the legacy voice quality almost all of the time.
Voice quality can suffer if the data network carrying the traffic is poorly equipped or managed. Business owners should consider the trade-off from using a dedicated IP backbone network versus going with a communications partner that engages in least-cost routing.
Least-cost routing, while innovative in theory, is subject to poor quality in the network itself. This may result in dropped calls, jitter, feedback, or possibly security issues. A network service operator that runs on a dedicated IP backbone of its own is far more likely to have an efficient and high-quality system but delivered at a higher premium.
Fast Setup and Scalability with Cloud Communications
Legacy phone systems require a lot of lead time for lines as well as trunks. These lines are also allocated in blocks, are associated with higher costs, and will remain active and costly even when a company is not using them. Unlike legacy, VoIP systems are far easier to deploy and scale up or down as needed. However, not all VoIP systems can offer the instant access that cloud communications providers can offer.
Dedicated VoIP systems installed at your location might require additional visits from installation crews or configurations by technicians, making this form of VoIP system not as flexible as cloud-based VoIP systems. A cloud communications provider, on the other hand, operates more like a plug and play and allows for near-instant deployment of new lines as well as the fast decommission of lines when not needed.
When it comes to equipment, VoIP systems are remarkably inexpensive. Virtually, the only cost associated with a VoIP system is the phones. This is because the system operates in the cloud. Cloud communications providers can offer the network, routing, and analytics, and security in one affordable package. They also make it easy to deploy new lines or reduce the number of lines as necessary.
Easy to Manage
Unlike the legacy systems and dedicated VoIP systems, cloud communications partners provide users with web-based management. This allows users and managers to configure settings and get users online and using the system fast. The dashboards and easy-to-use web console make deploying phone lines hassle-free.
Unified communications providers that offer cloud-based VoIP systems can increase your company’s communications efficiencies and create seamless handoffs and integrations of communications throughout the organization while maintaining voice quality in calling. These phone systems allow for fast and easy scalability so your communications systems can grow with the business in a more organic way instead of working against you.