VoIP Comparisons

By Neil Zawacki
Updated: April 21, 2011

Choosing a VoIP solution isn’t a simple task for most people. There are a huge number of phone vendors on the market, and they offer a wide range of features that can be useful to small businesses. This article will discuss how to compare the different VoIP systems on the market and select the right one.

The first step is to determine the specific needs of your business. You’ll want to consider the following questions:

  • How many hours do your employees spend on the phone each day?
  • Do they regularly make long distance or international phone calls?
  • How many calls do your company make or receive during peak hours?
  • Do you want an auto-attendant to manage incoming phone calls?
  • Does your company need the ability to send faxes?

You can use this information to determine how powerful a phone system you will need at your business. If you don’t have that many employees or spend too long on the phone each day, a simpler VoIP system may suffice.

Comparing VoIP Phone System Features

Cost – This is often the most important factor for a small business. You need a phone system that you can afford, but still provides the service you need. You may thus want to see if the company offers competitive pricing.

Features – The special features offered by the VoIP provider will often vary quite a bit between vendors. Some companies might have caller ID or automatic voice mail in the standard package, while others might require you to pay extra. In some cases the company won’t offer the special features at all and you’ll need to look elsewhere if you want them.

Training – Some VoIP companies offer free training on how to use the system. This can save a fair amount of time and money, as well as reduce the initial confusion with using the phone service. If your employees are already familiar with IP phones, this may not be as important to your business.

Security – How secure is the VoIP system? Some companies will protect the phone calls through Secure RTP or AES (advanced encryption standard). Other VoIP providers don’t bother and leave the phone system open to potential attack.

History – You generally want a VoIP phone solution that has been around for a few years. This will show they have a certain level of dependability for providing service to customers. It can be quite frustrating and costly to sign up for a new service only to have the company go out of business.

You can find out a lot of this information from technology websites and online consumer guides. They can help you with VoIP comparisons since a lot of them have detailed charts that list the cost, advances features, how long the provider has been around, and other useful information. Many of the websites also include reviews of VoIP phone systems and comments from former or existing users. Overall, they should be able to assist you with making an informed decision.

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