With the increased availability of broadband service for the Internet, it is no surprise that traditional phone systems are quickly becoming an item of the past. Replacing your existing phone system seems like an expensive and complicated feat; however, the transition to Voice over IP (Internet Protocol), or VoIP, is actually quite simple. A common method for larger enterprises looking to bridge VoIP technology into their communications network, is a VoIP gateway. This article examines how VoIP gateway solutions work, and the costs and benefits associated with employing a VoIP gateway solution for your business.
How Does a VoIP Gateway Work?
The use of a VoIP gateway allows you to switch back and forth between the public switched telephone network, and IP network. The gateway converts the two call types, enabling business to send and receive communications between the two networks. Without a VoIP Gateway, calls from the traditional public switched network cannot be made or received by a VoIP phone system, and vice versa.
This solution consists of connecting the gateway, which is an actual piece of hardware, to your private branch exchange and integrated access device. When connected, the gateway compresses the voice signal and converts the traffic into packets. The packets then transfer across the network using the appropriate signaling protocol. This makes for a continuous connection from one network to the other. Businesses that have an existing PBX, can easily integrate a VoIP gateway solution.
What’s the Connection Between VPNs and VoIP Gateways?
Safety and security remain a high importance for businesses—making the security of VoIP communications a topic of great concern. Fortunately, VoIP gateway solutions work seamlessly in combination with Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and offer additional security protocols. The VPN secures and encrypts your all of your communications. That allows you to safely transmit data when using a public network. Not only does the VPN ensure your data is safe, it also aids in minimizing bandwidth usage, and can increase call quality.
What Are the Benefits of a VoIP Gateway Solution?
The key benefits to deploying a VoIP gateway include:
- Cost Savings: Moving calls from the public switched telephone network over to an IP network immediately cuts costs, as the IP network offers a far more cost-efficient telephone connection. For example, one luxury resort, the Grace Bay Club, integrated a VoIP gateway with AVOXI’s Smart Queue. That integration enabled the resort to cut costs by 75-85%, almost instantly. This solution not only saved a significant amount of money, but also, it gave the resort an updated set of phone features that ultimately boosted their entire guest experience.
- Enhanced Functionality: VoIP gateways are efficient and scalable solutions for voice connectivity. While a gateway primarily supports telephone calls, voice and fax compression, call routing, control signaling and packeting, it also comes with a set of advanced features. These advanced features include: billings systems, network management systems, and interfaces to external controllers. Combining VoIP connectivity with sophisticated features gives a business more control over its communications system and allows you to make the most of your investment.
- Legacy Technology Integration: For some businesses, it just doesn’t make sense to move entirely over to a Voice over IP system. Adding a VoIP gateway to existing legacy equipment is a great way to leverage any expensive equipment in which you already invested. It allows you to take advantage of VoIP while retaining the services of your existing equipment. Gateways easily integrate with legacy phone systems to create customized communication services for less while enhancing the functionality of those services.
How Much Does a VoIP Gateway Cost?
Generally speaking, the cost of a VoIP gateway is relatively inexpensive for what you can achieve. A basic FXS gateway, like the AudioCodes MP114, costs about $300. For a more advanced enterprise gateway like the Digium 1G400F, you are looking at a price tag of over $3,000.
The cost of a VoIP gateway depends on type, features and capacity. To get started, you first need to consider the type of gateway that your business needs (FXS, FXO, digital, analog). Each type of gateway comes with a different price tag.
Second, you want to determine the volume of calls that your gateway needs to support. Each gateway has a different call handling capacity. For example, Digium G-Series gateways, can support anywhere from 30-240 calls simultaneously. If your business has higher traffic, purchasing additional gateways might be necessary. Lastly, larger businesses working with larger communication budgets will want to consider purchasing gateways with advanced features to maximize utility.
There is a lot to consider when shopping for a VoIP Gateway for your business. With its 16+ years of experience in VoIP technology, AVOXI can help address your questions and determine the best configuration for your business. Talk to a VoIP Specialist today for the answers to your cloud communications questions.