Is my current telephone system compatible with VoIP phone calls?
YES. You do not need a special phone system to make cheap VoIP calls. There are different ways to connect VoIP services to a phone system and although you may not be able to connect new technology like SIP trunking you will be able to connect other types of VoIP to get cheaper calls.
Modern phone systems that are built for IP not only allow you to connect better types of VoIP services but also offer users a whole range of other VoIP related features - link multiple sites, reduce staff, have remote workers and generally improve productivity. Read more about the benefits of VoIP phone systems.
Can my current provider give me VoIP calls?
With the overwhelming popularity and acceptance of VoIP you’ll find that most traditional carriers can now offer you some type of VoIP or IP solution. Just be careful because many plans are designed for home usage and may not be up to the quality, reliability or bandwidth demanded by business. We deal with a range of different VoIP carriers and providers - ask us which service we recommend and why.
Do I need a phone system to make VoIP phone calls?
NO. Vendors like Skype provide VoIP calls for single phones. You can even get hosted solutions from as small as 1 user. You only need a phone system if you’re going to have multiple phone lines and multiple staff.
Do I need a VoIP phone to make VoIP phone calls?
MAYBE. It depends on the type of phone system you have the type of VoIP service you are getting. You can make a VoIP call on any phone. If you have a hosted IP phone system then you will need IP handsets. If you have a traditional or hybrid system then you can use IP, digital or analogue phones to make VoIP calls from.
What is VoIP call quality like? I’ve heard some negative reports…
VoIP call quality depends on the provider, the Quality Of Service (QOS) and your internet speed. If you tick all 3 boxes then a VoIP phone call can be almost indistinguishable from a normal phone call. If you don't cover these bases then you can experience "latency", call drop outs and below average call quality.
How do I guarantee VoIP call quality?
You need a high speed quality internet connection and high Quality of Service Routers (QOS) with Voice Prioritisation. Data and Voice both travel across your data network under a VoIP solution. It doesn’t matter if a data packet gets sent 1 second slower but if your voice packet is slower then your phone call will have lag and sound distorted. This effect is called VoIP “Latency”. QOS routers make sure your voice calls get delivered on time so you get the call quality you need. For the technical people, according to a white paper from Brooktrout Technology, latency starts to affect phone conversations when it exceeds 150 milliseconds each way, and is unacceptable when it exceeds 450 milliseconds (nearly half a second).
What happens if my VoIP Network goes down?
If your supplier doesn’t allow for redundancy then you will not be able to receive or make phone calls.
When setting up any VoIP solution it is an excellent idea to have redundancy measures in place and is a MUST for phone critical business.
VoIP Phone Systems FAQ
These are the most popular questions customers ask us regarding VoIP phone systems:
Is my current phone system VoIP compatible?
Unless your phone system is only a few years old the answer is NO. YOU can get cheap VoIP phone calls on your current system but you won’t get any of the benefits of a new VoIP phone system. Furthermore, it won’t support SIP trunking which is the superior, business grade type of VoIP that carriers and phone manufacturers recommend.
Do I need to change my broadband service for VoIP phone systems?
The speed of your data service has a direct impact on the call quality. If you have a basic internet connection then VoIP phone calls will probably sound awful. Ask your data provider if your service is up to scratch for VoIP. If you are getting SIP trunking then you will actually have two internet connections – one for your data and internet, the other for your phone calls. This is infinitely better because it is a dedicated resource and therefore not compromised by your normal data usage etc.
What is a managed or hosted PBX?
This is where you do not actually have a phone system in your premises. You have VoIP handsets only. These VoIP handsets are controlled by a selected provider in their offices or the “Host” – hence the name. You do not own, or control, this type of phone system.
What is a premise based VoIP PBX?
This is where you have a normal VoIP phone system with a control box, or main equipment (ME), mounted on the wall. You then have handsets which can be digital phones, or VoIP phones, connected to this main equipment. You control this phone system, are not reliant upon a provider and you can own it.
What are the benefits of a premise-based VoIP PBX vs. a hosted PBX?
Hosted solutions are managed offsite by your chosen provider, but you can’t administer your own phone system and need to rely on your provider for everything. If your provider goes down then you also have NO Operational phone system.
Premise-based solutions on the other hand, allow you to administer your own phone system - you control everything. You also have more options in terms of handset selection as they allow you to connect IP, digital, analogue and even basic cordless phones which you can’t do on a hosted solution.
From a pricing perspective it depends on the brand and the provider but they are often comparable in price.
How do I guarantee VoIP call quality?
You need a high speed quality internet connection and high Quality of Service Routers (QOS) with Voice Prioritisation. Data and Voice both travel across your data network under a VoIP solution. It doesn’t matter if a data packet gets sent 1 second slower but if your voice packet is slower then your phone call will have lag and distorted sound. This effect is called VoIP “Latency”. QOS routers make sure your voice calls get delivered on time so you get the call quality you need. For the technical people, according to a white paper from Brooktrout Technology, latency starts to affect phone conversations when it exceeds 150 milliseconds each way, and is unacceptable when it exceeds 450 milliseconds (nearly half a second).
Do I need extra equipment beyond the phone system?
Read the question above. You will need to check the routers you’re currently running and ensure they offer QOS. If you’ve only been using your routers for data then the odds are you will need to upgrade your routers.
What happens if my VoIP Network goes down?
If you have no redundancy with your phone system then your entire phone system will be dead! You will not be able to receive or make phone calls.
When you set up a VoIP phone system it is an excellent idea to have redundancy measures in place. If you keep a couple of normal phone lines active then your system will automatically switch to them in the event of a problem with your data network. This is a MUST for phone critical business. With hosted solutions you will often have a mobile phone number or alternative contact set up for this purpose and if the service goes down then you calls will route to the number you have provided.
Can I scale the phone system?
Most VoIP phone systems will allow you to scale, just like a normal phone system. Make sure you let us know how much expansion you want to allow for so you get the right solution for today and tomorrow. A hybrid or traditional pbx can often scale to 100’s of users (even 1000) whereas a hosted can scale to virtually unlimited.
If I have 2 sites do I need a VoIP phone system in each location?
It is up to you. YOU can:
- Have a VoIP phone system each site
- Have a VoIP phone system in site 1 and only VoIP handsets in site 2.
Option 1 is the preferred solution because it is totally reliable across a VPN but it often comes down to cost for customers. Both solutions will achieve the same results. Ask us to price up both options for your business.
Call one of our friendly customer support members today.