AVOXI deployed 100s and 100s of Cloud VoIP communication systems since the publishing of this post. We thought it time to update information and note if setup options and ease of operations changed in the past 3 years.
It’s still true that Voice over IP (VoIP) offers a quick and easy option for your business phone communications—especially when your VoIP service is in the cloud. Most implementations are up and running in a matter of days. However, considerations to address remain before you implement cloud VoIP for your business.
Switching from traditional telephone service to VoIP requires sufficient bandwidth, a proper router for the equipment on your internal network, and the right hardware to go with your cloud based service. Additionally, if you seek to just add virtual phone number service like a toll free number on your current setup, you need to know if that’s possible and feasible.
Decide What You Need for Cloud VoIP: Standalone Phone System or Integrated Virtual Phone Numbers?
There are any number of VoIP providers that offer standalone business phone systems. AVOXI is one. If you seek to implement a standalone cloud-based system, carefully review the bandwidth, router, and hardware requirements that facilitate a seamless installation. But, if you already have cloud-based telephony services, you have an option to integrate virtual phone numbers “over the top” of your current setup—whether cloud-based or on premise. Few VoIP providers offer this type of integration. Talk to your provider about the ability to integrate with your current PBX setup and outline the requirements you have for your selection of virtual numbers—domestic toll free, international toll free, etc.
If you do not currently use VoIP technology for your business phone systems, then determining how much bandwidth you need for voice-over-IP in your office is essential.
VoIP needs a certain amount of bandwidth to keep your conversations clear and free of disruptions. You need to have a high speed (broadband) connection to use VoIP. A typical business Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) connection may work. However, DSL typically provides limited upload speeds. Your best bet is to look for the higher speeds provided by business grade Internet Service Provider (ISP).
To avoid an over-purchasing of Internet connectivity, determine how many people in your office are likely to use the phone at the same time. For instance, ten people on the phone concurrently requires ten times as much bandwidth as one person on the phone. Below is a chart that helps you calculate how many people can be on the phone at one time:
Ask your VoIP service provider what audio codecs they offer, as there is a tradeoff between audio quality and bandwidth usage.
- Full Quality Audio (G711 Codec)\- Uses 87 kbps for each concurrent phone call
- Compressed Audio (G729 Codec)\- Uses 33 kbps for each concurrent phone call
Therefore, the calculation for a slower DSL connection would be:
- DSL: 600 kbps upload / 5000 kbps download
- Delivers: (Full Quality): 600 kbps / 87 kbps = 6 concurrent calls
- Delivers: (Compressed Quality): 600 kbps / 33 kbps = 18 concurrent calls
Often overlooked, your router is a key piece of the puzzle that impacts the success or failure of your VoIP implementation (the call answering endpoint). Choosing a low quality or underperforming router is a costly mistake that degrades your call quality. Your router sufficient power to handle the number of phones you have in your office. Additionally, you need enough bandwidth to handle your other Internet traffic. Consider discussing your router choice with your VoIP service provider to confirm that it meets your needs and that it is VoIP compliant.
Other questions to ask concerning your router:
- How many voice-over-IP phones will connect to the router? The more phones, the more powerful router required.
- Will your VoIP phones have their own dedicated Internet connection? If not, a router with a quality of service (QoS) setting to prioritize voice traffic over regular traffic is must have. Without QoS you will encounter poor quality telephone calls on a regular basis.
There are many digital office phones, soft phones, headsets and telephone adapters on the market to choose from.
- Digital IP Phones - These types of phones look just like regular multi-line business telephones except that they connect directly to your Internet connection using a network cable.
- Soft Phones - A soft phone is a software program running on your computer that looks and feels just like a real telephone. This requires you to purchase a headset which connects to your desktop or laptop to make and receive calls.
There are other factors to consider as well. If you need a new number, you will need to purchase one either from your VoIP provider. If you plan to use an existing number, it will need to be “ported” to your new VoIP provider.
Considering these points and knowing the choices, you can be up and running in as little as a couple of days if the actions listed above are already completed. Converting to VoIP is a small investment that quickly saves 35-50% on phone costs when compared to traditional wireline providers. The added benefit is cloud-based VoIP phone services typically provide a wealth of stand business-class features not available (or only at an extra cost) from traditional telephony companies and on premise phone equipment.
AVOXI offers both standalone or integrated VoIP phone services. Talk to one of our specialist about your setup requirements.