Having a telephone system has many benefits to your business; it is the first line of contact many customers, or potential clients will have with your business. It adds a layer of professionalism, as you can set up business telephone numbers, as well as utilize a range of voice messaging functions.
But it may also feel inaccessible to some businesses. For example, if you are an SMB or a start-up, having a telephone system may feel like a large expense. However, with the advent of the Internet telephony, it is much easier for smaller businesses to get a phone system that is on par with those of a larger corporate business.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a newer form of telephony, that is an alternative to traditional telephone systems. It simply means that it delivers voice communication and multimedia sessions over the Internet, rather than over the Public switched telephone network (PSTN) that has been the staple for so many years.
Advantages Of Internet Telephony
Firstly, VoIP telephony is generally cheaper than PSTN telephone systems in a range of parameters – for example, there is little to no installation costs for a VoIP system; Internet speeds increasing has meant the cost of internet data has dropped considerably – this, combined with the availability internet connectivity means making calls using internet data is quite cheap.
Another consequence of the speed and availability of internet data is that Internet Telephony can be used anywhere that has a connection to the internet. As the infrastructure of a VoIP system is generally based in the cloud, you are not tied to a single location, like with a wired telephone system. Moreover, a VoIP phone number is virtual, therefore it is also portable.
As VoIP infrastructure is based in the Cloud, it is also very scalable. Any PC, laptop, or mobile device can utilize a VoIP app and virtual number – meaning nearly any device can be turned into a business telephone. So, adding more telephones to your system is as simple as onboarding a device to the system.
Disadvantages Of Internet Telephony
As VoIP services rely on the internet connection to deliver the service, this means that if you have low bandwidth, or are in an area without high-speed internet, then a VoIP system will face a considerable bottleneck in speed. Another effect of low bandwidth or internet speed is latency issues.
This is where there is a delay in response to action – in the context of internet browsing, this might be how long it takes a webpage to open after clicking a link. Internet telephony requires good speeds and high bandwidth, and if you do not have this, you may find your phone calls experience lots of lag.
Note also that an internet telephone service requires a special type of router, and ethernet cables with a high power level; if you do not have the right router and cabling, this will also affect the latency of phone calls.
If you are thinking of adopting a Voice over Internet Protocol telephony service, it would definitely be worth speaking to an IT provider with experience in provisioning Internet telephone systems to businesses of your size.
Be sure to look for one local to you, as they may need to assess your office/home office internet.
If you are based in London, there are lots of IT support London providers with experience in telephony who could support you in the adoption and onboarding process.