Over 60% of businesses switched from traditional phone services to VoIP last year,1 and it’s easy to see why. After adopting VoIP services, 91% of organizations reported seeing improved collaboration, while 72% said worker productivity increased.2
In this blog, we’ll explore what makes VoIP an essential tool for improving business communications, customer service, and more – and how you can find the right VoIP solution and VoIP provider to grow your company in 2023 and beyond.
What Is Voice Over Internet Protocol?
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony uses a high-speed internet connection, rather than traditional phone lines, to make and receive calls. VoIP phone systems convert voice signals into data packets that can be sent over the internet from an IP desk phone or other internet-enabled devices, allowing businesses to save money, support worker mobility, and more.
What Are the Differences Between VoIP and Traditional Phone Systems?
While VoIP and traditional phone systems both enable voice communication, there are several key differences between these two technologies to consider when choosing a business phone system.
Scaling a traditional phone system means purchasing and installing additional phone lines and hardware. With a VoIP phone system, businesses can scale users and lines easily to meet changing needs.
Businesses typically see an average savings of 50% to 75% after switching to a VoIP phone service.3 Since traditional private branch exchange (PBX) telephone services require expensive hardware and wiring, they can be costly to maintain over time. VoIP services are hosted in the cloud, eliminating the need for most of this hardware and reducing the cost of VoIP calls.
Traditional landlines work independently of the internet, which may make them more reliable during outages than VoIP services. Since voice over internet protocol depends on a fast, stable broadband internet connection, the phone system could go down if the connection fails. However, more VoIP providers have implemented redundancy features to increase reliability and ensure businesses stay connected even during outages.
VoIP call quality used to be considered inferior to landline connections. But as internet speeds and compression algorithms improve, VoIP technology now has comparable – or better – audio quality than a traditional phone system.
Many VoIP service providers offer a wide variety of features that would be expensive to implement on a traditional landline phone. These advanced features include:
- Auto attendant
- Voicemail transcriptions
- Call screening
- Mobile app integration
- Presence detection
- Video conferencing
- Call analytics
- And much more
VoIP phone service also provides flexibility to add and change features without additional hardware costs.
How Does VoIP Work?
While traditional telephone calls are sent over copper wires physically connected to the public switched telephone network (PSTN), VoIP calls occur entirely over the internet. Here are the basics of how VoIP technology works:
Step 1: Session Initialization
When you make a VoIP call, your device sends a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) request to a proxy server, which includes important information like your SIP address and the address of the person you’re trying to call.
Step 2: Analog to Digital Conversion
When you speak into a VoIP device, such as an IP phone, computer, or mobile device, your voice is converted from analog sound waves into digital data using an analog-to-digital converter (ADC).
Step 3: Packetization
Once your voice is digitized, it’s divided into data packets. These packets contain both the voice data from your call and information about their intended destination.
Step 4: Data Transmission
The packets are then transmitted over the internet using Internet Protocol (IP). These packets can travel over various networks, including a local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), or the public internet.
Step 5: Routing and Switching
On their journey over the internet, data packets are routed and switched between multiple servers and network devices. The packets follow the most efficient path to reach the call recipient, which might include multiple hops and servers.
Step 6: Packet Reassembly
Once the data packets arrive at their destination, they’re put back together in the correct order to reconstruct the voice data.
Step 7: Digital to Analog Conversion
Finally, the digital voice data is converted back into analog sound waves using a digital-to-analog converter (DAC), enabling your call recipient to hear your voice as a clear call.
What Are the Advantages of Using a VoIP Service?
Switching your business phone system to VoIP services offers many advantages, including:
VoIP Cost Savings
VoIP technology eliminates the need for expensive on-premise PBX hardware and dedicated phone lines. Most VoIP providers offer flat monthly rates with unlimited local and long-distance calling bundled in, and international calls are charged at very low rates.
To minimize service outages, many service providers implement failover methods like call forwarding, backup internet connections, and SIP trunking. Some even offer 99.999% uptime guarantees,translating to less than five minutes of downtime per year.4
Since VoIP service is cloud-based, it’s easy to scale up or down as your business grows. Adding or removing extensions and features is easy, so you only have to pay for what your organization needs.
VoIP service can seamlessly integrate with other critical applications, such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems, email, and collaboration platforms. These integration capabilities help streamline workflows and ensure important customer data is always available during phone calls, improving customer service and sales processes.
Improving workforce mobility is critical, as 30% of companies worldwide currently offer a hybrid work arrangement.5 Many VoIP solutions integrate with companion mobile and desktop apps that let your employees make and receive phone calls remotely from a cell phone or laptop – providing a consistent calling experience whether in the office, at home, or on the go.
Disadvantages of VoIP Service and Fixes for These Problems
VoIP phone systems offer many benefits. But as with all technologies, there are some potential drawbacks to consider and address when implementing VoIP.
Sound Quality Issues
Early VoIP phone systems had call quality issues stemming from internet connectivity problems. Choppy audio or lagging connections made phone conversations frustrating.
Thankfully, modern VoIP phone service providers have implemented methods like quality of service, multi-protocol label switching, and codec support to ensure consistently high call quality. Upgrading your business’s broadband connection also helps optimize phone calls.
Power and Internet Reliability
VoIP systems depend on power and internet connectivity to function. Any power failures or ISP outages will take down phone communication.
Voice over IP solutions include implementing an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) to keep equipment on during short power blips. Multi-network path VoIP adapters and backup phones also provide redundancy if your main internet line goes down.
Emergency Call Limitations
Unlike landlines, VoIP lines may not provide ENHANCED 911 access or accurate location data to dispatchers for emergency services.
A good VoIP service provider offers workarounds like registering the physical location where you will use the VoIP phone system or configuring the 911 feature to route to your local emergency call center. You can also set up a fallback to transfer an emergency call to your cell phone if needed.
IP desk phones and VoIP data face greater security risks like data breaches, eavesdropping, and malware.
Work with your VoIP service provider to ensure proper security measures are in place, and follow cyber security best practices like encrypting calls, using strong passwords, enabling firewalls, and installing anti-virus software to protect your phone system.
What VoIP Phone System Features Should Businesses Look For?
Modern VoIP phone services have advanced features to help improve operations and productivity. Here are some of the best VoIP features your business should look for:
An auto attendant greets callers and provides menu options to route to the right department or person, automating call handling and improving business workflows. You can also use an auto attendant to forward VoIP phone calls to your voicemail or another mobile device outside business hours.
Call recording can improve customer service through quality assurance monitoring. Some VoIP services also provide call transcription to simplify the process of reviewing past conversations and providing documentation when needed to settle disputes.
VoIP apps enable your employees to make and receive phone calls remotely from their mobile devices. This mobility feature supports remote and hybrid workforces by maintaining consistent business communication no matter where your teams are located.
Connecting your VoIP system and CRM software combines calling data with customer relationship management. This seamless integration helps improve worker productivity with tools like click-to-call, screen pops, and logging interactions, so your agents always have the information needed to help customers effectively.
Advanced analytics can provide insights into call volume, response times, customer satisfaction, agent performance, and other metrics. You can leverage this data to make better-informed decisions about how to optimize your operations and improve customer experiences.
Smart Call Routing
Smart call routing can help your teams handle incoming calls more efficiently, minimize wait times, and improve the customer experience. By directing calls based on predetermined criteria, such as the time of the day or the purpose of the call, this feature ensures the appropriate department can help callers promptly.
This personalized approach to call handling boosts customer satisfaction and improves staff productivity by minimizing misdirected calls and unnecessary interruptions.
VoIP phone system security is a top priority for businesses of all sizes due to the sensitive nature of calls and increasingly common cyber attacks. An unsecured phone system can expose critical business data to potential eavesdroppers, leading to financial losses, reputational damage, legal issues, and loss of trust among customers and partners. To protect call data and ensure uninterrupted service, your VoIP service provider should employ measures like call encryption and redundancy.
VoIP can elevate your business communications through unified communications (UC), which streamline communication channels into a single platform to improve productivity and workflows. A centralized UC system can also simplify the management of your communications infrastructure, saving time and reducing overhead costs.
Below, we’ve answered some of the most commonly asked questions about using a VoIP phone system:
Is VoIP phone service easy to use?
Yes, VoIP solutions are generally user-friendly and easy to use. Once set up, making and receiving VoIP calls is much like using a traditional telephone service. Most VoIP devices come with intuitive interfaces and calling features that improve efficiency. The right VoIP provider will also offer comprehensive training, support, and resources to ensure your teams can maximize the benefits of your new VoIP system.
What types of VoIP phones are available?
Businesses can choose from many VoIP phones, such as IP desk phones, mobile devices, and softphone applications. Your VoIP provider can recommend the right type of phone for your business to get the most out of your VoIP telephone service.
What Is IP Telephony?
IP telephony, short for Internet Protocol telephony, uses the internet’s packet-switched connections to exchange voice, fax, and other data traditionally sent over the dedicated circuit-switched connections of the PSTN. Using the internet, VoIP calls travel as data packets over an IP network, avoiding the tolls of the PSTN.
Will VoIP phone service work with my internet?
It’s important to have a reliable, high-speed internet connection for your VoIP phone service to work. For optimal performance, you should use an Ethernet cable rather than Wi-Fi and have a minimum download/upload speed of 1 Mbps.
Are VoIP calls secure?
Most VoIP service providers use encryption to safeguard call data from cyber criminals and ensure privacy between users. Many also offer additional security tools like two-factor authentication to help prevent unauthorized access.
Can I keep my existing phone number using VoIP phone service?
Yes, VoIP providers typically offer a porting service to keep your existing phone numbers. It’s important to check with your provider to make sure your business is eligible for number porting.
Enhance Your Business Communications With Netlink Voice
VoIP isn’t just a phone system – it’s an all-encompassing communication solution. The high level of customization, flexibility, and scalability offered by VoIP ensures it can meet the needs of any business, regardless of size or industry. However, choosing the best VoIP phone service and VoIP service provider for your company can be difficult.
Whether you have one phone or 1,000, Netlink Voice will set you up with a powerful VoIP phone system that empowers your teams to communicate and collaborate better. Trust Netlink Voice for:
- 24/7/365 support from our friendly, locally-based team.
- A phone system solution tailored to meet your unique needs.
- 99.999% uptime to ensureyour calls always terminate.
- Guaranteed service deliverability thanks to our geo-diverse network.
Ready to stop worrying about your business communications and get started with a simple, worry-free VoIP solution? Contact our experts today.