Voice over Internet Protocol, VoIP, enables you to make low-cost phone calls over the internet. After you set up a VoIP phone system, you can dial anywhere in the world. The underlying technology makes talking to people over the phone simple and less expensive.
The benefits of VoIP
Now you understand the basics of how VoIP works. The question is, why should you invest in it? There are many benefits to VoIP. And the reasons to implement it will depend on your business structure and goals. Here are several of the common reasons that organizations invest in VoIP:
- Costs: A reduction in hardware means fewer implementation costs. Traditional phone lines are expensive. VoIP calls also don’t have physical constrain. It runs over existing internet cables, making it a less expensive approach.
- Reliability: VoIP is a reliable proof technology. As a result, Users can still receive and make calls during internet outages.
- Mobility: Remote teams and teleworkers can make and receive calls from their office phone. In the age of working remotely, a remote office phone system has your business covered.
- Simplicity: Making conference calls over VoIP isn’t a problem. It allows as many people to join a call easily.
- Customer service efficiency: You can use VoIP to setup more efficient customer service. Use call recording to train your team. Also, listen to FAQ to update your knowledge base.
- Sales growth: VoIP is a great sales training tool. It allows sales managers to tailor their feedback in one-to-one meetings. With the right tools and leadership, you can grow faster.
How to Build a VoIP Infrastructure
As an IT leader, you may consider the in-house route. In-house VoIP infrastructure is appealing because of the level of control. Firstly, let’s look into what it takes to build an . You can decide which system is right for you.
Step 1: Understanding your business’ requirements
As VoIP operates over the internet, you must ensure you have a strong and reliable connection. Part of understanding this is to figure out how many users you’ll need.
You’ll also need to define which shared resources are needed across the company. For example, three meeting rooms means three conference phones.
Once you know how many users you must accommodate. You can also evaluate whether or not your current internet capabilities are sufficient enough.
Speak to your ISP about your requirements and see what they can offer you. We’ve also created a VoIP speed test tool so you can see how much data your existing connection can handle.
Now, you can calculate the number of lines you’ll need to support business needs. To get an accurate number, consider the following:
- Phones: How many phones will you need over the next six, 12 or even 24 months?
- Numbers: If you have more than one physical location, you may need a separate business number for each
- Simultaneous calls: An inbound or outbound call is considered a line in use. If you anticipate a certain number of inbound and outbound calls at any one time (e.g. 50), then that’s the number of lines you’ll need
Step 2: Setting up the hardware
When setting up your VoIP system, you’ll also need the right hardware to meet your needs. Here’s what a PBX system might look like:
Let’s break down the important elements laid out in the diagram above.
- Internet: You’ll need a stable internet connection to handle the number of lines you’ll need. Again, speak to your ISP if you need advice or to evaluate your needs
- Router & server: As VoIP connects to the internet, you’ll need a router that connects to your server. Each IP phone will then connect directly to the server
- SIP trunk: This connects to your VoIP service provider. This avoids sharing the same internet connection the rest of the business uses
- Wireless routers: Allows mobile devices using VoIP software/apps to connect to the system
- VoIP phones: Plug directly into the server via RJ45 connectors, allowing employees to make calls
SIP trunking allows voice data to travel over a dedicated line. This means that voice data has a dedicated line, which saves bandwidth from being eaten up over your main network.
Step 3: Choosing providers and features
Finally, there are dozens of providers available to handle your VoIP needs, all with varying costs and features.
We’ll cover how to evaluate different vendors in the next section. Let’s look into which features you should consider when building your VoIP infrastructure.
Here are five of the most critical (and common) VoIP features most businesses and IT professionals consider a “must-have:”
- Voicemail (and call forwarding): There will be times where employees cannot answer the phone. Voicemail is critical for allowing customers and suppliers to leave messages.
- Call recording: This is critical for industries that are heavily regulated. It can also be used as a strategic tool to train sales reps on their sticking points.
- Auto-attendant: This feature “welcomes” callers with an automated message, and direct them depending on why they’re calling. For example, “press one to speak with customer service.”
- Do not disturb: Allows users to block other incoming calls when they’re already on the phone with someone. For example, this is ideal for consultants who work directly with clients who wish to give their undivided attention.
- Conferencing: Look for software with robust conferencing features, such as the ability to transfer files and make video calls.