The arrival of VoIP into the telephony market was a disruptive technology move that caused a flurry of consternation for standard telephony service providers and was the birth of additional innovations. The ripple effect will continue for decades to come. VoIP comes with many advantages and, quite frankly, we love it. However, in order to be objective, it is necessary for us to present you with the advantages AND the disadvantages of VoIP so that you are making a fully informed choice when you sign up with us.
The good, the bad and real life
Before we launch into our detailed analysis and overwhelm you with more acronyms and quirky technology terms, let’s start with some explanations.
What is VoIP?
VoIP is the acronym for the phrase Voice over internet protocol ‒ protocol as in ‘method’ or process. VoIP facilitates making voice calls (“telephone” calls) via internet connections instead of using land-based copper wire telephone networks or mobile airwave connections. This methodology (or protocol) is known by other names as well, such as:
- Broadband phone service
- Broadband telephony
- Internet telephony
- IP telephony
The acronym VoIP looks strange and sounds strange, and you might be wondering when you should try it out. The truth is, you have probably already used it without realising you had just made a VoIP call!
VoIP in existing apps
Have you ever made a Skype call? Or perhaps you have made a Viber call? Most people have made WhatsApp calls or FaceTime calls, and a smaller percentage have done Facebook Messenger calls.
Well, congratulations ‒ you have been using VoIP already! All of those apps utilise VoIP protocols.
This protocol has had a huge uptick in integrated and standalone use over recent years. The reason for it being viewed so positively by app developers and business IT managers is its affordability, ease-of-use and the additional benefits that old school copper wire telephony does not offer.
With VoIP, you can not only make a call but you can add visuals to it whilst having a simultaneous text chat function, share screens, transfer files and achieve all this from one piece of equipment. It really knocks the socks off of restrictive, inconvenient, single-function landlines.
You can also make those multi-function VoIP calls from anywhere on the planet. The benefits stack up very quickly. Today’s world demands convenience, flexibility, nomad lifestyles and has a distinct distaste for restrictions.
Suitability of VoIP solutions
When you have looked through the various specifications of the different VoIP solutions, you can choose the setup that best services your business requirements.
If you would prefer to have VoIP without taking on new depreciating assets, then a Managed IP PBX plan might be the choice for you. You will not need to purchase equipment or operate it on-site.
If the full outsource option doesn’t suit your communications security risk profile, you can maintain control of communications if you have the technical team to establish and administer a Session Initial Protocol.
If you own a small to medium business, a good VoIP option for you would be a cloud-based IP PBX solution that a service provider hosts. You are not bothered by I.T. maintenance problems or the on-site administration costs. As your service provider, we can assist you in selecting the specification and budget appropriate hardware. We can also assist you with the software selection. Then sit back and let us manage it, supplying you with superior communication that makes your day to day operations significantly easier.
The advantages of VoIP
VoIP delivers cost savings to your business or home because the technology shares networks and leverages existing bandwidth. Only one network is necessary to transmit documentation data, flat image data, visual data, voice data and other audio data parcels. The network only requires one service provider.
The ground breaking convenience that this superior product has brought to the market is that you can use a broadband connection (DSL or cable) to make phone calls, URL to URL, regardless of where the recipient is in the world! What is the cost of the telephone call? Zero.
Calls made from a PC origin to telephone will usually attract a charge, but nine times out of ten, it is a more fairly priced fee.
Business owners are always excited about quality, value-adding offers that are affordable AND save money for their businesses ‒ and that is why VoIP has soared in popularity. You will smile your way to the bank when you see cost savings of up to 50% versus your current legacy solution.
VoIP systems also simplify administration because there are no additional line requirements nor multiple contractor contracts ‒ one account, one bill, loads of convenience.
A VoIP-based solution is not a one-size-fits-all. It can be tailored to meet user needs, business objectives and budget parameters. The only restriction is the bandwidth available for the system to be connected to. The bandwidth is consumed by the length of time used for each phone call and the regularity of the calls.
If your burgeoning business takes on more headcount, no problem. Additional phones are easily added to the system in a few minutes to facilitate external calls or internal team calls.
If your business is phone-heavy, e.g. a phone-based sales hub or a customer-service centre, you will find this versatility and simplicity efficient while it saves costs and increases productivity.
Changes to office layouts are no longer a cabling nightmare as you add headcount to your growing company. With the system protocol being a cloud-based VoIP solution, your team or roam strategic executives are not restricted to desk landlines when they need to make lengthy phone calls that are affordable. These calls can be made remotely from a car, a hot-desking spot or home ‒ infinite flexibility.
With an appropriate, quality internet connection and bandwidth, you will have consistent superior audio and uninterrupted connectivity. Unlike legacy systems, you will never have phone lines down for a day or days while telephone crews look for a broken cable.
Say goodbye to international (or local) calls filled with static noise, echoes, crossed lines and faint audio. The quality of a VoIP phone call is not subject to the number of kilometres between two VoIP-based callers. Even when your office has multiple VoIP calls on the go simultaneously, you will not experience a dip in the audio quality.
The mobility of VoIP telephony solutions promotes work efficiencies and if you move office locations, you do not need to change your phone number ‒ it moves with you. Did you know even if you move your office to another country, you do NOT change your number! No lost clients, frustrated clients or extra admin ‒ just continuous connectivity for your clients.
Your customer relationship calls can happen when you want, wherever you want, regardless of what local landline restrictions are.
More than a phone
With legacy telephony communication systems, the suppliers make their biggest money by upselling add-on features to companies to broaden the system’s functionality.
The fees for these add-on features quickly compound to make your telephony solution a very pricey cost to your company. Plus, you will be charged installation for each one, setup, maintenance, updates, and the list goes on. These features can include:
- Video conferencing
- Forwarding of calls
- Call waiting notifications
- Enabling 3-way calling
If your business needs these services, you can still choose them with a VoIP setup, except they come standard with the setup and at NO extra cost! There are no extra clip-ons, add-ons, special feature upgrades ‒ you get all the bells and whistles as the standard service because it is a superior solution from the start.
The flexibility, mobility and affordability result in a VoIP communications system being a scalable solution that can grow with your business whilst keeping costs at a minimum. Your efficient team can transmit contract documents, product images, and instruction videos to clients while talking to them on the phone, based in their home office. They can also do this while in an online brainstorming meeting with peers overseas.
Pandemics and the growing digital-nomad trend has made remote working a higher priority, so flexibility, mobility and affordability have never been more important than right now. Work from anywhere (WFA) while effectively staying connected to your team, peers and customers all around the globe.
Disadvantages of VoIP
As promised, we need to discuss the disadvantages of VoIP to give you a balanced overview when choosing a VoIP solution with us. Everything in life has a disadvantage, and VoIP’s can be listed as follows:
- Your business or home must have a stable internet connection.
- The connection’s speed is not important; the latency (lag, buffering) is important.
- If you make an emergency call, no one can track your location as the service is in the cloud. A mobile phone is the easiest to track for location; even a landline can be tricky.
The internet connection
VoIP needs a quality connection in order to supply a quality service. If you have a fluctuating internet connection with very little bandwidth, you will not have a pleasant experience with VoIP.
The positive of VoIP, in relation to that disadvantage, is that VoIP is not bandwidth-hungry, so it doesn’t need a “Rolls Royce” connection. For VoIP to give you a ‘like-for-like’ telephone service, it needs a network that does not have latency issues.
With each telephone or other piece of equipment that you add to the solution, you should plan an upload speed of a minimum of 100 kbps per item. Note: that is the minimum. You should also be able to get a 70ms ping back when doing a speed test.
We can assist you with running a bandwidth test on your network.
Latency and lags
Your emails, phone calls, photos, etc. are transmitted over the internet in little parcels of data, not big chunks. This allows for more efficient use of bandwidth.
The data packets are then reconstructed to create the voice audio, song, photograph, etc. You could say it is like the ‘beam me up Scotty’ scenario from Star Trek.
If these data packages hit a traffic jam of data packages on the internet highway or get muddled in their transmission, you will see lags or buffering or receive distorted images and incomplete files.
You should not immediately assume that the fault lies with your network. It could be the server at the destination or even a traffic jam on a national cable.
Our Broadway Broadband team of experts can supply you with an affordable network without latencies and lagging and a brilliant VoIP telephony solution.
Whoever, wherever –
we connect communities
As we say: “Give the old dog & bone a makeover.” Avoid signing up for new line rentals and a whole lot of other hassles. AND keep your existing number too when you use a cutting edge solution like VoIP!