VoIP is one of the latest technologies creating a buzz…
Business Requirements for VoIP
Are you wondering what the business VoIP requirements are?
VoIP vendors like to position their services as an easy to implement option, often claiming that organizations will be able to deploy VoIP services in as little as a few hours.
While the process of upgrading to VoIP can be trouble-free in the abstract, a business still has to take care of a few nitty-gritties to ensure a smooth transition.
Business VoIP Requirements
Compared to implementing an enterprise grade PBX system that utilizes the PSTN, deploying hosted VoIP services can be a walk in the park.
But if the process is to remain trouble-free, the organization has to be prepared and meet the minimum requirements in order to utilize VoIP. Some of the aspects that should be taken care of before implementing business VoIP include:
Since VoIP routes audio calls through the Internet and the organization’s internal network, both must be capable of fast speeds and have enough bandwidth to function properly.
While this may not typically be a problem for larger organizations, small businesses find that they have to upgrade their Internet connections before deploying VoIP.
Faster connections mean two things – the audio quality will be better, but the organization may have to pay more to get those speeds. As always it is a trade-off to be made between quality and price.
Another factor to keep in mind is bandwidth. Since voice calls contribute towards the traffic load on the network, congestion can quickly degrade the quality of calls and even lead to dropped connections or interruptions.
It is not enough that the organization has sufficient bandwidth during slow periods or on an average. Voice calls must be able to get through even under heavy network load.
Even with sufficient speeds and bandwidth, VoIP calls can still be affected by poorly configured QoS settings. The settings may not need to be changed regularly but they should be set up properly in the first place, in order to ensure that voice calls get priority over other forms of data such as documents or video.
One of the promises of hosted VoIP is that organizations do not have to maintain their own PBX boxes anymore. However that this does not mean that there is no need to purchase any equipment.
Even with a hosted solution, the company needs to have IP handsets or adapters so that their existing phones can be used with the VoIP service. Most businesses prefer to use a combination of different clients – adapters for a few phones, IP handsets for top executives, as well as softphones installed on most desktops/laptops.
With the increasing proliferation of mobile devices, many companies also use mobile VoIP clients.
While it may sound like a lot of hardware, in reality it is not very expensive to purchase or maintain them.
Quite a few vendors offer a list of compatible handsets for sale on their own sites or have partnerships with hardware providers so that the organization can simply plug in the devices and start making calls.
At the very least, the vendor should be able to offer some recommendations based on the company’s budget and requirements.
Any VoIP solution requires two things to function – power and Internet access. These are the bare minimum requirements without which the phone system will not work.
Unfortunately organizations are so used to phones that function even when the power goes down that many do not foresee the need for having a backup system for the VoIP solution.
Most organizations already have a backup plan for when the Internet goes out, even if it means paying extra for a line from another vendor. Whether the switchover is automatic or manual, as long as the VoIP system can access the Internet, calls can still go through.
The question of power can be a bit trickier. Sometimes it is as simple as connecting the VoIP equipment to the backup generator. But if doing so overwhelms the capacity of the generator, it may be necessary to add another one exclusively for the phone system.
It may seem too much of a hassle to set up multiple backup systems but these are necessary if the organization wants to access the services even during an emergency or natural disaster.
Anything from hurricanes, snowstorms or even a simple accident can bring down the power and the business should be prepared for such emergencies.
Last but not least, organizations also need to be prepared to budget appropriately for the new VoIP system.
Many providers offer all sorts of financing or payment plans and the company has to decide whether they will pay on a monthly basis or make annual payments for a discounted rate.
Whether the company purchases brand-new equipment or adapters to work with the existing hardware, these line items will add up to quite a lot. But once these requirements are taken care of, deploying the VoIP solution will take no time at all.
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