As with any technological systems, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) can offer businesses some intriguing benefits, including decreased costs and easier management. Because of these advantages, many businesses have already switched over. For those who are considering making the move, there are a few points you should be aware of first.
1. Faxing can be tough with VoIP
Fax machines were designed on an analog system and therefore may have trouble working with a digital system like VoIP. This is especially true for businesses who are using older fax machines. We aren't saying faxing is impossible, but you likely will not be able to simply plug your fax machine into a VoIP line and start sending/receiving faxes.
What you will most likely need is to install a few extra components such as an adapter that supports T38 protocols. The T38 protocol was developed specifically to change analog fax signals into a digital that can then be sent via VoIP.
Therefore, if you use fax machines in your office, you should be sure to ask potential providers if their systems support faxing, and if your machines will be supported, or if there are any extra components needed.
2. Credit and debit terminals may not be compatible
Many business owners who look to move to VoIP systems often forget to also look at how their payment systems work. If you are using older credit or debit terminals on a landline they may actually be dial-up based, which means they will not work with VoIP. While most businesses already use newer models that support ethernet connections, and therefore VoIP, some are still using older systems. If this is the case, then you will need to contact your terminal provider for an upgrade, or new IP-terminals.
3. Older alarm systems may not work
Businesses with physical storefronts likely have alarm systems in place. The problem with this is that many older systems rely on traditional phone lines in order to signal emergency services should the alarm go off. If you are planning to upgrade to VoIP, you should make sure that the alarm system you have is compatible, or can be connected to VoIP.
If this is not the case, you may need to upgrade to a more modern alarm system. We strongly recommend checking with both the alarm provider and your VoIP provider if your alarm systems will still work.
4. VoIP requires broadband connections
We have seen cases before where businesses have invested in a VoIP system only to find out they don't have a broadband connection that is strong enough to support VoIP effectively. In order for VoIP systems to function, you need to have a broadband connection with a fairly strong amount of bandwidth. This is especially important for businesses in rural areas where broadband speeds can be limited based on distance.
It can be tough to figure out if your broadband connection will support VoIP, but you can test the connection before you agree to purchase it. Asking a potential provider for help testing your line would be a good idea. Should your connection prove to be too slow, then you will need to contact your Internet Service Provider in order to upgrade your speed.
5. VoIP needs to be managed
Like every other tech system, you will need to manage your VoIP solution. This includes adding new lines, upgrading equipment, ensuring systems are compatible, etc. For many business owners this will require extra time they don't necessarily have. One of the best solutions we can recommend is a managed VoIP solution.
We offer VoIP solutions, so if you are looking to learn more about VoIP in your business, and would like to avoid the common mistakes made by others, contact us today to learn more about how our expertise can help.