VoIP – The Things You Need to Know

You must have a reliable Internet Connection

It is absolutely necessary for you to get a reliable Internet connection. You need speed and stability so that’s what you should look for when shopping for a vendor. A good connection will allow your VoIP to work properly. You avoid dropped calls with a good DSL.

Costs

VoIP providers usually offer unlimited minutes for a fixed monthly fee. But, you must also take other costs into consideration such as hardware installation. Depending on your office needs, installation can range from a simple telephone adaptor or more sophisticated hardware for a big office network. Some systems are even so simple to install that you can do it yourself. It is important though to consult an expert when looking to install a VoIP system so you don’t waste money and you can utilize your equipment for many years to come.

Reliability

Since you rely on an Internet connection, you will be affected when there are power outages. Power interruptions don’t normally affect traditional phone lines because telephone companies have back-up generators. VoIP uses broadband modems and other equipment that require the use of electricity. To be on the safe side, ask your vendor about contingency plans when there’s a power outage.

Security

Inquire about encryption to protect your lines from eavesdroppers and to provide security for all your staff.

Caller ID

Caller ID availability varies by provider. Having this feature can be a waste at times because some providers allow a caller to make it appear as if they are calling from a different number. There are also equipment available that make it easy to modify caller ID information.

Emergency Calls

Emergency calls cannot be easily routed to a nearby help center because it cannot locate users geographically.

Costs

Business phone system costs have a wide range. Basically, the costs for the cabinet, wiring, installation and telephone units are all included in the fee. Other optional features such as music on-hold, CTI, etc. are also usually included in the monthly service fee.

 

Different types of business telephone systems have different price averages. Adding extra features and the number of employees that require a line can add to the overall cost.

 

Average Costs

 

The average cost of a system is usually based on the total cost per user. Here is a quick rundown.

 

Key-Systems

 

These systems can cost anywhere between £200 to £600 per employee. This also depends on the features that you need.

 

KSU-less

 

This type is usually the least expensive among the systems available in the market. Your only actual costs are the phones themselves plus setup and installation. This type can cost anywhere from £60 to £150 per phone. You should also consider your time and maintenance plus any additional wiring.

 

PBX

 

This type starts at £500 per employee. The average price is £600 per employee. If you have 100 or more employees, the cost per employee is significantly reduced because of scaling. That is why this is used by most large businesses.

 

VoIP

 

This is a very popular system because of its cost. It is comparable to KSU-less systems. As a matter of fact, many KSU-less systems can be used for a business Internet phone system. However, you need a router so this increases your one-time cost a little. It costs £60 to £150 on average.

 

Factors that affect the cost of your chosen business telephone system

 

Here are some things that can affect the total cost of your system.

 

Installation

 

In many cases, installation costs are the same price as the entire telephone system. Key and PBX systems require a complex setup so you really don’t have a choice if you are installing either system. Expect a hefty sum for installation and wiring. If your current wiring is incompatible or is inadequate for your new business phone system, you will be charged and extra fee for wire replacement.

 

Maintenance

Maintenance fees are usually already included in the quoted price but if you want some extra perks, you may likely be charged more. If you fear high costs associated with phone system problems, better ask your vendor for a good maintenance plan.

 

Cabinet

 

This is where everything happens. This is the central operations unit for your entire telephone system so it is no surprise that it is also expensive. It can run anywhere from £600 to £6000. The price depends on the size and complexity of the system that you need. This is a significant part of your overall cost.

 

Telephones

 

The telephones themselves are another factor. Panasonic units are usually more expensive than the ones from Samsung, NEC, Linksys and AT&T. A phone’s price depends on its features and functionalities. A phone that is capable of a loud speaker, hold, hands-free, etc. is more expensive.

 

However, if you don’t need these high end phones, you can buy cheap phones in bulk for less than £60.

 

Features and other Functionalities

 

Your phone system comes with basic features. If you need more, they cost extra. Music on-hold, voicemail and computer telephone integration are some of these extra features. Remember, they cost money. If you have a limited cash flow, take some time to really think about whether you can utilize a feature fully now and in the future. Make sure that a feature will help you on your ROI.

 

Some vendors offer a free trial period. Take advantage of this so you can test a feature out and determine whether it is useful for your company or not. Most of the time, the features included in a phone system are enough for a small company. Also, many features that were once only available to large companies are now available to small businesses at a fraction of the cost. These features can make your company more impressive and more professional in the eyes of your clients.