Upgrade to VoIP – how and why
Why upgrade to VoIP?
1. Normally its cheaper – the rental is normally less and so are the calls (some are free). Plus you tend to not pay for things like caller ID and Direct Dial numbers
2. It’s got better functionality – the features are better with VoIP. You might have call recording options as well as other intelligent options such as queuing, voicemail and so on. You can also send out different phone numbers with your calls, subject to what features you have on your phone system or hosted system
3. It is instantly scalable – you can increase and reduce capacity instantly (subject to contract)
4. Geography is irrelevant – you can use any number (or port any existing number) – this could be a local number, an international number or a non-geographic number. And you can move it anywhere, onto any endpoint
5. It has better resilience and continuity features – you can have fail-over destinations or load-balancing between sites – this is fantastic for businesses with multiple sites including retail businesses
6.You can make use of your internet connection for both voice and data (as long as it is designed and managed properly) – this potentially saves having a connection for each although you may still want to retain some back-up connection
7. When installing VoIP on the LAN (internal computer network), it can make network maintenance more simple as you only have a data network, rather than one data and one voice network
8. It is easy to deliver – depending on what you use, you can plug in your internet phone in any internet connection (occasionally this is subject to router configuration)
9. Soft phones can be used on PCs, laptops and tablets, removing the need for physical handsets if this is a preference
10. Hosted (cloud) systems are often paid for on a monthly user basis so this keeps upfront costs lower
11. ISDN is being retired in 2025 so you will have to upgrade before then!
This is the part most people may struggle with.
Our first piece of advice is do your research first. Then, we you are ready, ask around and find a supplier that someone else has used successfully. Always ask for reference sites from the supplier.
It is very important you get the right advice from a supplier that has your best interests at heart (and not just their sales figures and profits!).
You may not have to upgrade your system – you may be able to retain it and merely replace your ISDN lines with SIP trunks. There is no reason why you cannot use SIP for your lines and retain your old digital (or even analogue) handsets on the desk top.
Or you could upgrade your system, install SIP for the lines and install new IP (or digital if you prefer but this probably isn’t advisable) phones on the desk, with on their own network POE switch or on your computer switch using V/Lans.
If you are installing SIP, you will need a decent internet connection (preferably a managed connection). Your numbers will port to the SIP trunk so you will need to be out of contract with the supplier of your number and lines.
Or you could go fully cloud based (hosted) which means you don’t need a phone system anymore. You need the same decent internet connection, a POE switch and then the IP Phones that come with the hosted system you choose.