Business VoIP Comparisons

By Sheila Shanker
Updated: April 25, 2011

Voice over Internet protocol, VoIP, has grown and improved over the years, and it's now a viable choice for many firms. Quality has improved dramatically, and many businesses rely on this system not only for voice, but also video conferencing. Before you use VoIP, be sure you have a broadband large enough to handle both data and voice traffic.

When reviewing business VoIP, don't compare it with regular free Internet services - you'll be comparing apples and oranges. The quality of service of a business class solution is much better and reliable than the free/almost free personal online services available online.

Questions to consider when comparing business VoIP are listed below:

Do you prefer hosted or in-house services?

Many firms prefer in-house services for VoIP because they have the expertise to maintain the system and troubleshoot it. Other businesses opt for hosted service setups, where the exchange phone system is located off-premises and is maintained by a VoIP provider. When comparing VoIP business services, be sure that you’re comparing similar types of service, so that you can make a sensible decision.

What are your needs?

Write down your needs regarding VoIP, including decrease of international calls expenses, more flexibility in set up new employees, easy and cheap conference calling and any other specific needs you may have. Don't forget call-waiting, voice mail and other needs that may not be met by your local phone service. Talk to your office manager and IT person to get a better idea about your needs. Once the list is done, you will have a basis to compare the systems and not forget anything important.

How to research VoIP systems and providers?

You can conduct research by looking at magazines and online. Visit VoIP providers' websites and see if they have handled situations similar to yours. Oftentimes these sites offer white papers and other information about services that can make you quite educated in VoIP. Beware that these websites are biased and designed to convince you to use their services. So, you should also check out other publications, online or in-print, such as Internet Telephony, Fortune, Business Week, Forbes and other more objective reviews of VoIP systems and providers.

How providers handle 911 calls?

This issue is one of those services you hope to never have to use, but then, you never know…VoIP can be used anywhere, including wireless mode, and when there is an emergency, the dispatcher may not know where you are located. If you have remote offices and they have an emergency, you want to make sure that the call is routed to the correct location. Check out how providers handle this issue -- they may use different ways to identify your employees locations.

What else should you consider?

  • Ask for referrals and when comparing providers.  Google their names and see what information you get to make sure they have good reputations.
  • Contact the Better Business Bureau online or on the phone and inquire about any complaints against the firms you're comparing.
  • Ask to test-drive their VoIP systems before you decide on one. Make sure to use it at your peak time and look for quality degradation.

VoIP is here to stay and you may as well take advantage of it. Business class service utilizes the latest technology, which is reliable, flexible and simple. Maybe in the future you will be interested in video conferencing, and VoIP allows you to do that upgrade easily. Say goodbye to your old phone company and get onboard with VoIP.

Featured Research
  • How VoIP is Transforming the Healthcare Industry

    The healthcare industry, like many industries, is in the midst of an era of rising costs and an ever increasing pressure to drive down expenses. Now, what if we were to tell you that there was a simple solution to these problems? The answer is VoIP. And to make it sweeter, it allows for your hospital staff to utilize modern mobile devices as resources instead of antiquated phone systems. more

  • [Infographic] 8 Common Pain Points UC Eliminates

    Every company has moments of frustration, it is when these moments become extended periods of inefficiency, or pain points, where we start to see loss in productivity and employee morale. What truly sets a successful business apart from those of its competitors, is how they take these pain points and use them as opportunities to improve upon procedures and systems to eliminate pain points and move beyond what was the status quo. more

  • Go VoIP and Go Green

    You may be looking to switch to VoIP because of the cost benefits that it will bring your company, but did you know that it is also FAR BETTER than traditional phone systems for the environment as well? With environmental impact being at the forefront of both consumer and business minds, it is essential that business decisions are made now based on economic AND ecological impact. more

  • eGuide: Comparing UC Vendors

    Changing your company’s business communications solution is an investment in time and money that will touch everyone in your organization. A successful unified communications (UC) deployment should streamline everyone’s work flow, simplify IT operations and deliver a lowered total cost of operations. Your company deserves nothing less. more

  • Getting More from Your VoIP System

    Too many businesses fall into the trap of setting up their VoIP as a "plug and play" and getting to work. However, we have found that this thinking only leads to businesses failing to get the most out of their VoIP experience. We have put together an in-depth guide that will walk you through 15 easy steps to get more out of your system. more