Making The Switch

The world of voice communications is changing everywhere, but nowhere is that change more significant than in the business world, with the migration from traditional telephones to IP-based service. Forces driving this move may include cost savings, better support for the mobile work styles being adopted today, and the administrative efficiencies created by merging two separate but necessary functions – telephones and computers – onto a single Internet network connection. Despite the benefits, a successful move to VoIP will still have its challenges. A smooth transition will require attention to network architecture, detailed project management, and effective team organization.

In terms of potential savings, IP-based systems deliver on a couple of fronts. First, a VoIP system is simply more cost-effective to operate than a traditional PBX. Cloud-hosted VoIP systems take the savings a step further by virtually eliminating capital expenditures related to PBX hardware. But maybe more significant is the way VoIP enables today’s mobile workforce through features like unified communications, instant messaging, and number mobility. Hosted VoIP offers an in-office phone experience from virtually anywhere.

There are two separate but similar paths into the world of IP-based phone systems: SIP trunks and cloud-hosted VoIP systems. SIP trunks use the customer’s on-site equipment to connect an IP-based PBX to the Internet and allow the use of some legacy equipment, such as handsets, while cloud-hosted VoIP system uses the carrier’s equipment located remotely but require IP-compatible phones. With a cloud-hosted system, the only equipment on your premises is the desk phones. Choosing between the two will depend on your company’s strategic, financial, and technical objectives, with more and more business opting for a cloud-hosted system.

With focus and effort, the migration to any IP-based system can be seamless. Here are a few suggestions to make the transition smooth:

  1. If your business is large enough to have separate IT and Telephone operations, bring them together early and consider merging them into one group. At a minimum, they should be thoroughly familiar with each other’s operations.
  2. Make sure your current Internet service has the necessary bandwidth and stability to support an IP-based phone system. Split-second drops in Internet service may be invisible to users on a computer but they will mean an abrupt end to a phone call running on the same network.
  3. Include a redundant system. A wireless backup connection that can handle excessive call volume or serve to pick up the load in the event of a cut line or some other failure in the primary network will keep your phones and computers – and therefore, your business – online.
  4. Make sure your provider can monitor your QoS (Quality of Service). Voice traffic is real-time data that requires a high-quality signal that is closely monitored for quality.
  5. Make sure your IP voice provider is familiar with both legacy voice systems and pure IP systems. Extensive knowledge of both will make any troubleshooting much smoother and problems easier to diagnose and resolve.

TEC has nearly a century of experience with all types of voice systems and extensive knowledge of converged IP network infrastructure. Call us today and let one of our experts create an IP-based voice solution that is perfect for your business.