Business Phone Service

By Neil Zawacki
Updated: March 28, 2011

Small businesses that are looking to implement a new phone system will quickly discover that there are several types of service connections available. They each have their own benefits, along with a few drawbacks, and the right choice can help to save money over time.

VoIP

VoIP is a telephony service that allows you to make and receive phone calls over the internet. You simply install the software on your computer, and it will automatically digitize your phone call and send the information across a packet-switched network to a phone on the other end.

This type of phone system tends to be quite inexpensive since local and long distance phone calls can be made for free. You also don’t have to perform maintenance on equipment, since the hosting company owns all the necessary hardware. In addition, you gain access to special features like conference calls, voicemail transcription, call recording, and caller identification.

One drawback with VoIP is that it requires high speed internet to properly function. If your company doesn’t have sufficient bandwidth available, you may experience latency issues or sporadic echoes during phone calls. You also need an external power source for the VoIP system to operate, unlike a traditional phone network.

SIP Trunking

SIP Trunking is a type of signaling protocol that is used to manage phone calls and videoconferencing over an IP network. The system requires very little infrastructure and creates a bridge between private VoIP service and the Public Switched Telephone Network.

You do need a private telephone system in order to implement SIP trunking. The PBX connects to a SIP softswitch that determines whether a phone call is meant for a PSTN or a SIP phone system, and SIP trunking modifies the audio signal accordingly and directs it to its intended destination.

The main advantage to SIP trunking is the money saved on the phone system. You don’t need to purchase a PSTN gateway, which can easily run several thousand dollars. You also don’t require Primary Rate Interfaces or Basic Rate Interfaces dispersed throughout the company. Other benefits include the dynamic allocation of bandwidth during peak hours and enhanced scalability.

Traditional Carriers

You can also choose from traditional carriers like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon. The phone service is generally available in two forms:

Landline – This is the classic option for most businesses. You have a fixed line that connects to the public switched telephone network and provides service at all times, even during a power outage. Landlines also tend to have superior voice quality during phone conversations since it is done over a physical cable.

Cellular – Cellular phones are also popular since they provide a great degree of mobility for small businesses. Employees don’t have to be confined to a desk while they talk on the phone, and can travel around the office if they need to track down information. Cellular phones also allow the employee to stay in contact while working from home or traveling on a business trip.
 

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