Communication has always been an essential part of our life and this is never going to change. Communication is becoming an indispensable tool in the modern world where businesses are going international and the global economy is experiencing a significant improvement. Because of that, choosing a suitable medium of communication is one of the most critical decisions every business or organization intending to stay ahead of the competition must undertake. Until recently, the public switched telephone network was the sole medium that transmitted voice data over a network. However, with the evolving digital world, the Internet has led to the development of VoIP, a more beneficial alternative to the public switched telephone network.
How does VoIP work
Voice over Internet Protocol, shortened VoIP, is a technology that involves the transmission of voice calls over the Internet. Far from the public switched telephone network (PSTN), voice over IP transforms voice which is in the form of an analog signal, into small digital IP packets and transmits it through the Internet to the final destination. Before arriving at the intended destination, these small digital IP packets are transformed into analog signals, in this case, your voice.
The number of people making use of VoIP call termination services is continually increasing with no indication of turning back. This is mainly attributed to the multiple benefits that come with using this fantastic service. That said, let’s explore in detail the advantages and disadvantages of VoIP, the types of VoIP phone numbers, how much it costs, and whether it's worth the investment.
Advantages of VoIP
One of the greatest benefits of VoIP is that it's more affordable than other traditional phone systems. This is because VoIP offers more cost-reduction opportunities than most telecommunication companies. By using VoIP, your business or organization stands to enjoy exceptional services at discounted rates.
According to recent research, businesses that adopted VoIP services experienced a decline of over 60% in their phone bills in a span of one year.
The pricing plans usually cover all the features, and therefore the costs incurred on VoIP phone systems depend on the plan selected. By choosing VoIP over traditional plans, you get to save more money because it attracts discounted call rates for global and distant areas compared to conventional phone systems.
In addition, you don’t need to spend on vast hardware because VoIP is typically on the cloud and all your reps need is a strong internet connection to initiate calls from their mobile phone, computer, or laptop.
Ease of upgrade
The other significant benefit of using a VoIP phone is that it fine-tunes itself to accommodate the growing needs of your business.
Incorporating additional phone lines into your VoIP system is hassle-free as they are readily available for purchase and require no special knowledge to set up.
On top of that, VoIP systems will allow you to access progressive call functionalities. Since a considerable number of VoIP phone systems are designed to be upgraded, VoIP service providers have varied pricing plans that present extra features to facilitate complex business communication requirements when your business expands.
This transition is usually crafted to be a straightforward and trouble-free upgrade that will let your business exploit additional possibilities to help you attain new heights.
Moreover, since you’re getting rid of desk phones and hardware, you don’t have to be bothered about acquiring costly hardware or a dedicated phone line as your business expands.
Futuristic call features
Adopting a VoIP system allows you access to multiple call features that boost the call experience for you as well as your clients.
These features entail auto cold calling, call forwarding, and lead routing, among others. Most of the business phone systems plans have them included, even at the lowest tier.
Besides, these advanced features often draw extra costs by telcos for those using conventional landlines.
VoIP allows the employees to make or receive business calls remotely since your VoIP numbers are not connected to your office internet. Hence, your employees will be connected at all times regardless of their whereabouts, provided they have access to the Internet.
VoIP also allows your reps to make and receive calls using the same phone number through your mobile phone, business laptop, or home desktop computer.
Furthermore, this makes the working-from-home option practical for your workers without spending an extra coin. With VoIP, you can make calls from all corners of the globe, stay connected while on the move, and always catch all the calls, even if you're out of a business’s premises.
Ease of setup and installation
Installing a VoIP system is straightforward as it only requires downloading an app or working closely with your VoIP service provider to port over your current business number.
Once you have bought your VoIP system, your VoIP software provider will guide you on how to switch your current business number from the previous provider to the new provider.
If in possession of physical phones, it should be hassle-free to connect to your internet router via the Ethernet cable.
While on the software, you will need to set up accounts for your staff to access the software, validate connectivity by performing test calls, and operationalize your features to create call flows.
It’s also worth noting that no hardware installation is required when using VoIP.
Running a VoIP phone system is very straightforward since most VoIP platforms are designed to be convenient and intuitive.
You don’t have to be tech-savvy in order to operate and learn about how the system functions since the software is intuitive.
If your business has gone international or you are planning to extend it beyond your country, then using a VoIP service provider will definitely work best for you. As stated earlier, using VoIP to make international long-distance calls attracts discounted rates compared to using traditional phone systems.
This makes it possible for businesses to connect with potential customers and leads from all corners of the world without being distracted by exorbitant fees imposed by telecommunication companies.
Disadvantages of VoIP
Absolute dependence on strong Internet
In spite of possessing the entire communication functions and progressive call features of VoIP phone numbers, unless you have got a stable internet connection, it won’t function.
In addition, the quality of your voice calls will be significantly influenced by the strength and stability of your internet connection. This implies that a weak connection can prompt your calls to be vague, stalled, or even cause jitters.
This can result in customer dissatisfaction or a failure in internal communication. Below are some tips you can use to prevent this from happening in the first place:
- Choose a reputable VoIP service provider
- Choose a dependable internet provider
- Avoid using shared Internet, and if you have to allocate some network exclusively to VoIP
- Deploy devices devoted to VoIP services, such as routers that prioritize their packet transmission to the rest of the components within the network
Vulnerable to cyber attacks
Security is of utmost importance to any internet communications. The likelihood of cyber criminals listening, altering, or forwarding your calls for ill intentions should not be taken lightly.
Some of the security threats that have brought down prominent businesses include malware, scam calls, phishing attacks, and many more.
A significant majority of VoIP providers have already implemented robust security measures to prevent VoIP calls from being compromised in the course of transmission. However, a handful of VoIP providers are yet to adopt strong security measures to curb potential security threats, exposing businesses to risks.
Luckily, a significant number of vendors employ advanced end-to-end encryption mechanisms so that your data is not breached by unauthorized persons. Remember to carry out due diligence and find the most suitable VoIP service providers before agreeing to any deal.
Needs an uninterrupted power supply
Since VoIP requires a strong internet to function, a non-disruptive continuous power supply is a necessity.
Landline phones differ from their VoIP counterparts in that they run on copper wires and remain operational even when there is a power blackout or emergency, unlike VoIP phones, which cease functioning in emergency situations. VoIP users have to decide between having their business operations entirely crippled until power is reinstated or spending money on a costly, relatively vast backup power supply.
Ineffective during emergencies
No single VoIP phone system is ideal for emergency calls since internet connectivity is quite unreliable compared to conventional landlines in cases of emergency.
The fact that virtually all VoIP phone numbers are non-fixed implies that they aren’t restricted to a particular geographical location nor confined to any device, which makes them unsuitable for emergencies.
With non-fixed phone numbers, the emergency responders may not be able to use the caller’s phone number to trace their whereabouts to send emergency services better.
Types of VoIP phone numbers
Fixed VoIP is simply a phone number that is tied up to a physical address. Although the two VoIP numbers (fixed and non-fixed ) connect your phone via the Internet, the fixed one demands a physical address, as is the case with a traditional phone line.
Most small businesses prefer fixed VoIP over non-fixed because it allows them to have a local number, making them appear more reliable to customers when carrying out business locally.
Additionally, since fixed VoIP phone numbers are attached to a physical address, calls can be quickly traced, which would be beneficial and dependable in emergency circumstances.
These attributes give fixed VoIP an edge over non-fixed VoIP numbers when it comes to security.
These are simply phone numbers that are deployed in VoIP phone systems that are not restricted to a particular geographical location.
Non-fixed phone numbers, also known as virtual phone numbers, are not connected to any single device; calls can be initiated through the Internet with the help of tablets, mobile phones, and computers.
Compare this with your traditional phone lines that are restricted to a particular location and device. Normally, made via conventional telecommunication companies are linked up through a definite landline and a devoted phone unit.
The exciting bit about non-fixed VoIP numbers is the manner in which they are often linked with a user account rather than an individual. This successfully does away with the traditional idea that one phone number is designed for one person.
How much does VoIP cost?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions when choosing software since costs are included, and you need to determine the ROI.
As much as you would want a specific answer to this question, it’s improbable in this case, as several factors influence the price.
The price is mainly influenced by the features you intend to use and the number of users.
Obviously, the final price also depends on the type of VoIP software you choose. The more prominent software brands tend to charge more, while the less renowned brands often charge a lower figure for the same features.
Therefore, conducting your research and weighing these factors when shopping for VoIP software for your business is necessary.
Is VoIP worth the investment?
Looking into the upsides and downsides we’ve discussed above, it’s apparent that VoIP is worth the investment.
Although VoIP isn’t a foolproof system, its pros far exceed its cons and can help your business scale up to new heights.
Benefits such as increased flexibility, accessibility, and enhanced user capacity coupled with a cost-effective range can set your business on an upward trajectory, mainly if your business relieves heavily from call-based lead generation activities.
At SonicVoIP, we’ve been assisting all businesses to make and receive VoIP calls at discounted rates. If you’re looking for reliable VoIP services in Los Angeles, SonicVoiP has got you covered.