Business VoIP

How To Get Started with VoIP Using This Simple Checklist

You've probably already heard about the big benefits of VoIP, from cost savings to flexibility. If you need a refresher, find out about the benefits of VoIP here. But as you consider making the move to VoIP for your office telephone system, it can be hard to know where to begin. To help, here's a guide to getting started and a helpful checklist of everything you'll need.

What is VoIP?

Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, transmits voice communications over a data connection for enhanced quality and the flexibility of digital communication. You'll sometimes see VoIP service providers referred to as IP Telephony (IPT), because it uses Internet Protocol, the rules that define communication for data over corporate, private, public, cable, and even wireless networks.

With VoIP, you'll unlock an unparalleled range of telephony services and features, from queuing and conferencing to detailed reporting. All with the advanced routing that only comes with a digital system, so you can bring all your locations and mobile workers together on a converged communication platform.

There's no doubt that the benefits of VoIP can bring real value to your organisation. But how do you get started with an unfamiliar technology?

What do I need to use VoIP?

To help you get started, here are the four key requirements of VoIP. Use this handy checklist to make sure you consider all your options and know all the facts before you choose your VoIP service provider.

1. A reliable high speed data connection

Since your voice communications are going to be carried over your data connection, it's essential that it's fast and dependable enough to support voice. If not, you may find that VoIP call quality suffers from jitters and stutters that can make the service unusable.

The key is a fast upload speed. In practice, a single VoIP call may use as little as 100Kbps. However, if your line may also be used for web browsing, it's best to err on the side of caution. Ideally, you'll have a dedicated line for VoIP with at least 100Kbps bandwidth for each simultaneous call - so a 1Mbps connection could support 10 VoIP lines.

2. VoIP phones and network hardware

To use your VoIP connection, you'll need the appropriate hardware to handle your connection and a way for your agents to make calls.

For your agents, there are multiple options for different needs, working practices, and budgets. One of the most cost-effective approaches is to equip them with softphones - software phones that run on desktops, laptops, or mobile devices. Alternatively, you could adapt your existing desk phones using an Analogue Telephone Adaptor (ATA), or invest in IP desk phones that are ready to take advantage of VoIP's features.

Meanwhile, your voice of router will have an impact on the success and stability of your VoIP implementation. To process multiple calls at once, your router needs large amounts of memory - typically, they're the routers that are explicitly designed to support VoIP. We recommend routers from Cisco or Billion, and can help you find the right VoIP hardware.

3. The right VoIP Service

Not all VoIP services are identical, and it's important to find the right match for your business. At Hostcomm, we offer three different services to meet a variety of needs:

  • Hosted Telephony: A cost-effective to start with VoIP, packed with features to improve your efficiency and increase your flexibility
  • SIP Trunking: A way to connect your PBX to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN)
  • Hosted Contact Centre: A comprehensive package with everything from scripting and campaign management to a hosted dialler

Carefully consider the way you do business and how you're likely to use your VoIP service day-to-day. Of course, one of the big advantages of VoIP is that you'll be able to change, grow, and scale your service if things change.

4. The right VoIP Service Provider

Finally, once you've figured out whether your existing connection can cope or you'll need a new one, decided on your hardware approach, and chosen an appropriate service, you'll need to find the right VoIP service provider. This will likely be a combination of the right technology and infrastructure, with helpful support and service.

At Hostcomm, we own and operate our own VoIP network infrastructure, with:

  • Loads balanced across 5 datacentres
  • No single points of failure
  • Robust security including active firewalls and IP-based restrictions
  • 24/7/365 monitoring to identify and resolve faults sooner

What's more, we'll act as your one point of contact for support across your VoIP and any related services including hosted diallers and contact centre solutions.

If you want to find out more about our hosted telephony service, see how we use your broadband connection to route call traffic securely to and from your phone over the internet. Read the infographic.

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