VoIP is hot right now but the truth of VoIP and the fiction are sometimes difficult to separate.  Lets take a few minutes to run through some of the different products and options out there.  This is a pretty in-depth conversation so we cannot include everything here.  For additional details, please contact us to setup a consultation with one of our VoIP specialists.  Let’s start by breaking this down into a couple different product categories and key terms:

Comcast Voice Edge

We do not currently recommend this product since they have not worked out the kinks yet.  While we have no doubt that long-term this product will be a viable option for businesses, in its current state it struggles with service and performance.  We will continue to work with this product and update our assessment as Comcast develops their product offering.

Full VoIP

Full VoIP is the term we use when the entire phones service runs digitally.  This means that from the service carrier to your desk phone, the phone traffic runs without any analog lines.  A good example of this would be an online provider who sends you a phone and you plug it into your router (hosted Telecom) or bringing a VoIP service trunk into your onsite phone system.

Hybrid VoIP

This refers to systems that use a combination of digital and analog to handle your calls.  A good example of this would be a VoIP system installed in your office but analog phone lines are plugged into it to provide service.

On-Premise System

A phone system installed in your building (commonly referred to as a PBX).

Hosted System

Phone system hosted in the cloud and only the phones are at your location.

We have been servicing and offering VOIP systems since 2005 and here are a few pros and cons:

Pros

  • Typically cheaper. Whether you purchase per line, per trunk, or metered, it is almost universally cheaper to go with VoIP over traditional phone lines
  • More features. Since VoIP is digital you have a ton of features and control over your calls that would not normally be available on analog lines
  • VoIP systems allow significant control over how much you can expand/contract/alter your phone service

Cons

  • Call quality. We have literally hundreds of systems that we support and across the board, call quality on a “Full VoIP” system is inferior to call quality on dedicated lines.  We typically would compare it to cell phone type service more than traditional house phones.
  • Learning curve. VoIP systems are digital and hence work differently than traditional analog systems.  This means that there are significant differences in the way the phones operate and it leads to an initial learning period.
  • Internet dependency. “Full VoIP” is typically dependent on your internet connection in some manner.  If the internet goes down, they both go down.  We typically build in redundancy but it is important to note that the two are linked.

When people talk about VoIP, it can be a bit misleading.  VoIP is a protocol, not a product.  This means that it is not an “all or nothing” scenario.  For most of our larger clients, we do hybrid systems to eliminate the “cons” and maintain the “pros”.  The cost savings would be comparable but you would not need to deal with the potential quality issues.  Also, you can purchase an on-premise system or have a hosted system for roughly the same cost.

This is a huge market with a lot of factors but a good consultant can help you navigate the complexity and make an educated decision.  If you are ready to look at VoIP, give us a call!  We can setup a call to discuss your goals and determine the best solution for your business.

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