How To Find The Right VoIP Provider For Your Business
If you’re running a business that has been connected to the nbnTM, then you’re going to need to transition your phone system to VoIP. This is because the nbnTM has “taken over” the wiring that led to your business premises, and the services that you previously used through those wires will no longer be available to you.
The good news is that with the right VoIP provider, you’re going to get so much more out of your phone system now.
What is VoIP?
VoIP stands for ‘Voice Over Internet Protocol’ and is an essential tool to have when your team is working from home. VoIP is quite simple technology, and most of us are familiar with it because we’ve used Skype at some point in our lives. Skype is a perfect example of VoIP in action. VoIP simply takes your voice data, and rather than transmit it over the older, traditional PSTN systems, VoIP sends the data over the Internet. That’s it. You access and use VoIP in the same way that you access and use your email.
How does VoIP help your business?
VoIP works out to be much cheaper than traditional phone lines. Remember the expensive PBX units that you needed to install in your offices, and remember the cost of getting technicians out to repair them if things went wrong and the entire phone line “went down”? Those issues are all done away with through VoIP, because through VoIP you can access “virtual PBX” or “hosted PBX” services from ISPs. This is where the ISP is able to take the PBX and manage it within their own data centres, and you simply pay a monthly fee, per user, for access to that service. It’s a simple, predictable monthly bill, with no technical issues to deal with or big, expensive pieces of IT hardware to purchase.
Finally, VoIP provides small businesses with far more advanced features than traditional telephony would provide them. Features such as automatic call forwarding, custom on-hold music, call queuing, and an online-based self-service portal were all difficult to set up and manage, and restricted to enterprise-class PBX units that were well beyond the price range for small businesses. Through VoIP, small businesses get a competitive boost thanks to having access to these new features.
What do I want in a VoIP provider?
VoIP providers can vary wildly in terms of quality and service standards, so there are a couple of things you should keep an eye out for in determining which VoIP provider is right for your business:
- What services are on offer? The suite of services that can be provided through VoIP are extensive, but as with all things, the more individual services that are loaded into a package, the more the overall service will cost. Businesses need to determine what services make sense for them, and then choose a package that offers a competitive price while avoiding services that won’t be used.
- Is it secure? Because VoIP data is transmitted over the Internet, it does become a security vulnerability for your organisation, and there are horror stories even on some of the most popular VoIP services. That’s not to say that VoIP can’t be secured, however, and it’s worth talking to your ISP to determine what kind of security they offer around VoIP if sensitivity is a concern to your business.
- Is the Internet connection sufficient for VoIP? VoIP is not an overly intensive technology – in terms of bandwidth consumption it’s generally quoted at between 0.5MB/minute through to 1.3MB/minute. At that rate residential Internet plans will have no issue running VoIP lines, however for the office environment there are a couple of considerations: firstly, VoIP relies on both download AND upload bandwidth, and with many plans the upload bandwidth provided is much lower than the download bandwidth. Secondly, VoIP tends to get used a lot in an office environment, and every single person on the phone is essentially another connection that is “splitting” the overall bandwidth to the office. For these reasons you may want to consider speaking to ISPs to discuss 1:1 bandwidth contention plans , where both the upload and download bandwidth provided is equal.
VoIP is a net benefit for the organisation in terms of the features and cost-effectiveness of it over traditional telephony systems. It is important to find the right partner to provide the service, however, as just about every small business relies on its phone system, and can’t afford to be risking security breaches or downtime from their service not working. Aussie Broadband has a reputation for offering the most reliable, secure, and customer-focused VoIP solutions. Discover our full range of solutions and learn more about our commitment to providing leading VoIP solutions here.