Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, is a fun-to-say word for the latest in business communication technology. In practice, VoIP closely relates to hosted PBX, but there are some technical differences between the systems.
Strictly speaking, VoIP is a method for making voice calls using internet connections instead of traditional Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) phone lines. it technology is used in personal-use software like Microsoft’s Skype as well as myriad business voice providers such as RingCentral. VoIP companies use IP technology to deliver advanced communication features to offices.
The major upside to VoIP service is that you get tons of features for a fraction of the cost of an on-premise PBX system. And with few downsides, it’s no wonder many businesses are moving to fully cloud-based systems for handling all their communication needs.
But we didn’t say “no downsides.” There are a few things to watch out for if you’re thinking that it is the right phone solution for your business.
The upside of this service is that you get tons of features for a fraction of the cost of an on-premise PBX system.
Because VoIP is provided purely through an internet connection, you need reliable high-speed internet. If your connection is too slow or prone to outages, your VoIP system will suffer.
You may have a hard time installing a VoIP system on your own. Unless you choose a fully virtual system that doesn’t use traditional handsets, you’ll need to connect your system using Cat5 cables, which can be tough if you don’t have someone who knows how to handle them. However, most VoIP providers offer installation services (for a price).
Depending on the company you choose, you may not have access to 24/7 customer support like you do with many traditional phone providers. In addition, some VoIP services make it difficult for users to dial 9-1-1 to connect to emergency services—definitely a cause for concern.