Is Hosted VoIP Reliable?Posted on: 2017-06-30 | Categories: VoIP Services
Not so long ago, no business that wanted high quality voice communication would have even considered switching to VoIP. But that is certainly not the case today. The technology has improved by leaps and bounds to where most people can’t tell the difference between POTS and VoIP calls today. Even the phone carriers are upgrading their backbone networks to VoIP and away from traditional copper cables.
However organizations are still concerned about the reliability of cloud based or hosted VoIP services. Many small businesses have moved other processes to the cloud but hesitate to do the same for voice. Voice calling needs to be extremely reliable as few organizations can afford to lose voice capabilities for several hours. Departments like sales, marketing, customer service, tech support etc rely on the phones to keep them going.
Is the Cloud Reliable for VoIP?
Some people view hosted VoIP with suspicion since you’re handing control of your phones to someone else. Any changes you want to make have to come through the external provider. But the reality is that most vendors offer online dashboards which give you complete control over the phone system features. You can add numbers, remove lines, change user specific settings etc.
The more troubling aspect of losing control is the question of reliability. If you run your own phones, you can fix the problem. But with hosted VoIP, you are at the mercy of the vendor to get the phones back online. At least that’s what many business owners appear to think.
Hosted VoIP is Reliable
The reality is that hosted VoIP may actually be more reliable than running your own systems, especially for small and medium businesses. Instead of hiring experts and specializing in a field where you have no expertise, you’re depending on the experts to take care of it for you. Running a premise based SIP deployment may sound attractive but it will cost quite a bit at the outset. Few organizations can afford that kind of investment which means you will end up cutting corners to save on costs.
In the case of cloud VoIP, the vendor takes care of maintenance, uptime and other aspects of VoIP. They have dedicated teams of experts whose sole responsibility is to take care of the system. If their equipment malfunctions or the network runs into problems, it can be catastrophic for all their clients. So they’re more likely to invest in the proper infrastructure for disaster recovery and business continuity.
When problems crop up – as they will – the vendor has access to a pool of experts to diagnose and fix the problem. A good vendor will also be proactive when it comes to upgrading hardware, software and launching new features. Your business will benefit from new features much quicker than before. Innovation in the hosted VoIP sector is very rapid and competition is forcing providers to step up the pace. All of which translates to good news for companies that want to purchase hosted VoIP.
How to Evaluate your Provider for Reliability
Now that you know hosted VoIP can be reliable, you probably want to know if your vendor’s service actually is. Or you want to compare the reliability of different vendors before making a decision. You can get answers to most of your questions by talking to the vendor or browsing their website.
Redundancy is necessary is you want a reliable service. You don’t want to rely on a few key pieces of hardware because if they stop working, so does your service. So a good provider should have redundant equipment to ensure reliability. If they have multiple data centers to route calls, then you can rest assured there will be no interruptions to your service even if something goes wrong.
Also ask if the vendor runs their own private network for calls or uses the public Internet. Calls routed through the internet generally suffer from poor quality and tend to be unreliable. This also opens up security issues since the data streams can be intercepted. It is inevitable that some calls will travel through the Internet and touch the PSTN at a few points but the provider’s internal network should be robust.
Internet speeds and bandwidth also play a role in reliability. Both your network and your provider’s should be fast enough to handle real time traffic. Sometimes the existing network is sufficient for normal hours but not for times when demand goes through the roof. You should have plenty of extra bandwidth to account for peak hours traffic as well.
No one will deny that hosted or cloud based VoIP offers a great value proposition for companies in terms of price, features etc. Now you can rest assured that it is also reliable enough to support all your business requirements. So go ahead and take the leap to VoIP!