What You Need to Know Before Buying VoIP

By Sheila Shanker
Updated: August 23, 2011

VoIP is hot these days! No wonder so many people are excited over moving their communication systems towards VoIP, the Internet-based system that can save you a bundle, while offering great features and flexibility. You can even get video services, if you so require, at very reasonable cost. However, before you take the plunge and get into a VoIP situation, consider these issues:

Do you have the proper Internet connection and bandwidth to handle the VoIP volume?

Dial-up service is out—you cannot use VoIP over a dial up connection. An ISDN or ADSL connection may be suitable, but with no mobility. Wireless technologies may work, but many are limited by distance and signal quality. Most LAN would work along with cable situations, again, with limited mobility. Inquire with your Internet provider about your online connection.

Should you get a hosted on in-house system?

Usually, if the system is to be used by more than 25 employees, and you have internal expertise in this area, an in-house solution may be your best bet. If fewer users are expected and/ or you don’t want to deal with maintenance and other technical issues, a hosted VoIP situation may fit your needs better. Some firms prefer the in-house setup because they don't want a third-party involvement in their communication systems.

What specific features do you require?

Most VoIP systems offer similar services, and you should focus on features that are important to you, which could be auto-attendant, voice mail to email or  Wi Fi connections. Make one list of features you need, and another one with functions that would be nice to have, but are not that important. Many vendors dazzle you with all the functions the VoIP system can offer and is easy to get lost and lose focus.

Will the new phone system integrate with existing programs?

You’re not going to change your CRM or ERP programs to accommodate a new VoIP setup. Rather, the VoIP should be a good fit with your existing systems. Some VoIP programs offer APIs to facilitate integration, but not all. On the other hand, you may decide that you don’t want VoIP to integrate all systems. To make a sound decision about this topic, have a talk with your IT staff.

What users have to say about the system?

Don’t make a decision without talking to users about their needs and wishes. Maybe some key individuals need to conduct a 4-way conference on a regular basis, and you’d never known that without contacting them. It’s better not to assume much and ask lots of questions to employees who use the phone system the most.

Buying a VoIP system can be confusing, but if you consider these issues, you’ll be more focused and knowledgeable and more likely to get a great system to your business. You could also check out the Federal Communications Committee website at www.fcc.gov for current information and alerts about VoIP systems.



 

Featured Research
  • 8 Ways Business Travelers Can Save with VoIP

    Do you or any part of your workforce travel for work, or even telecommute? If that answer is yes, then you should be utilizing mobile VoIP. With VoIP, businesses have been found to save as much as 40% on local calls and a whopping 90% on international calling expenses. more

  • Phone System Showdown

    When it comes time to select your new phone system, one of the biggest questions that you will face is whether to go with the hot, new VoIP system or the steady and secure PBX network. There are pros and cons to each of these phone systems, and before making any purchase we highly suggest that you take the time to download and read our latest guide: Phone System Showdown: VoIP vs. PBX. more

  • Signals Your Company is Ready For Unified Communications

    Efficient and effective business collaboration is essential to company success and as you grow your business, you'll discover all the different communication methods that you NEED to stay connected with partners and customers. Implementing a Unified Communications (UC) system can save your company upwards of $920,000 a year due to increased efficiency amongst company employees. more

  • Phone System Implementation Expectations

    Providers would have you believe that implementing a new phone system is as easy as counting to three. However, while the process may not be difficult, there are steps that need to be taken to ensure that your new VoIP system is installed and implemented smoothly. Luckily, the challenges associated with upgrading your system tend to be fairly predictable. Most businesses run into the same set of problems that many others have faced before them, meaning avoiding or overcoming them is as easy as preparing ahead of time. more

  • Your Phone System and Your Bottom Line

    Businesses have been using phones to drive increases to their bottom lines for almost a century now. Telephony, much like the rest of the business world, has seen drastic changes with the increase in technological advancement. Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), has enabled companies to connect with consumers at levels that have been seen as unheard of before. And trust us when we say this, it is doing wonders for the bottom line. more