VoIP for Business

By Charron Conley
Updated: February 25, 2011

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is basically the broadcast of voice transportation over IP-based networks. The internet protocol was originally designed for data networking. More simply, phone calls are made over a broadband Internet connection as opposed to traditional analog phone lines. The success of IP is making it a world standard network. Now this networking has adapted to voice networking or VoIP. Today VoIP is a staple for business communications.

VoIP has gained popularity do to its ability to save money on long distance calling. Most businesses pay a flat monthly fee for local telephone calls and a per-minute charge for long-distance calls. VoIP plans do not charge a per-minute fee for long distance. Using the Internet connection for both data, movement and phones calls can allow companies avoid monthly payments.

There are different types of set-ups available for VoIP. These all require different forms of phones for different types of calling. Because there are a variety of ways to adapt to VoIP, it is simple for companies to find a solution that is best suited for them.

A very modest type of calling options is through IP phones. The phone that needs to be purchased looks identical to a traditional phone. However, a difference comes in at the wall jack. The old style wall jack connector is replaced with Ethernet connectors then it gets plugged directly into the router.

Computer-to-computer calling is the most popular type of calling that is seen today. This is the most straightforward and cost effective way to use VoIP. The calls themselves are free of charge. The upfront expense that is needed it software and a broadband, DSL or T1 connection.

Additionally, microphones, speakers and sound cards will be needed however they are a onetime purchase.

Finally, the most recent technology that is developing in the market and gaining commonality is Wi-Fi phones. With this type of calling users can implement local wireless internet access points and switch over to a cell network when needed, making this a hybrid option.

VoIP Features

More than just being cost-effective in long distance and international calls, VoIP has many beneficial features such as email alert for new voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, caller ID and web access to voicemail. Some beyond-basic popular features that VoIP offers are call routing and call forward. Call routing is helpful with incoming phone calls. An incoming call will be routinely transmitted to the VOIP phone where ever it’s plugged it into the network. This allows VOIP to travel on business trips so incoming calls can be received from any location chosen by the user. Also, call center agents using VOIP phones can easily work from anywhere as well which is beneficial for out-sourcing. Call forward allows calls to go from the office to cells phones or to other offices. Users now can get important calls without having to give out cell phone numbers.

Common VoIP Problems

Of course with all new technologies there are a few concerns or drawbacks with VoIP. Some VoIP providers have issues with sound quality and dependability. Data sent across the Internet usually arrives at its destination in a scrambled order. This should not be a concern with e-mail or documents because after the data reaches its connection it can then be reconstructed. During a blackout a regular phone is kept on by the analog phone line. With a VoIP phone this is not possible. So when the power goes out, there is no VoIP phone service. A solution to this would be to keep one phone line analog, use a cell phone or install a generator. If these issues are something that can be worked around than VoIP can still be a helpful option.

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