VoIP, also known as Voice over Internet Protocol, is now one of the least costly and most effective means to provide your business with an effective and efficient phone line. A typical PBX telephone system will include some additional call handling features such as auto attendant, call waiting, call forwarding, music on hold, night service etc. VoIP service is a flexible option that allows you to incorporate advanced features that traditional PBX systems cannot offer. However, these added services can sometimes prove cumbersome and may require additional equipment or software to integrate into your business. For small businesses VoIP may not be an ideal solution, however, there are several options available to extend high-speed Internet to your business premise.
One solution that can help your business is SIP trunks.
SIP trunks are dedicated servers which forward calls between voicemail boxes, e-mail boxes, and fax machines, all on a dedicated IP network. This provides your employees with access to their voicemail via the Internet, which can be accessed from any location. The benefits of this type of VoIP phone service are that there is no hardware to buy, no ongoing bills to pay and no long distance charges.
There are several alternatives to SIP trunks which can enable you to take advantage of voice over IP technology with business phone systems. These include hosted VoIP services and cloud computing solutions. Hosted voice over ip services are provided by companies that buy or lease bulk amounts of processing power and bandwidth and then lease or sell it to customers. They can manage their own network, customize their services, and manage their own servers. Whilst cloud computing solutions are provided by companies that use a software model whereby applications are based on large-consolidated databases and are accessed from a remote location.
Both hosted and cloud-based solutions provide the functionality necessary for VoIP phone systems. However they differ in terms of pricing, billing methods, and features. Hosted services are normally cheaper than cloud-based offerings, but they also have limited functionality compared to a dedicated VoIP phone service. SIP trunks are usually more expensive because they require maintenance and application management, and the additional security and features found with SIP trunking.
Before you decide which option is right for your business, it’s a good idea to understand the difference between hosted and sip trunking VoIP services. A hosted VoIP service is an extremely simple model. Your business calls are made and received using an internet telephone system – just like your home phone. All your calls are automatically routed through the Internet to your given business phone number. You don’t need to buy or rent any additional equipment to implement hosted VoIP services. You can even use a normal phone as an extension if you want to.
On the other hand, a hosted VoIP phone service typically includes
a number of different elements that make up a robust system. Typically there will be a central control panel with various options that allow you to manage, route, and secure your phone lines. There may be dedicated IP numbers for each extension, depending on the type of service that you sign up for. Most services offer auto attendants who can take calls from your extension when you’re not available. Auto-attendant functionality helps you reduce your exposure to unnecessary call traffic and increase productivity.
A Cloud-based VoIP provider is data centers that utilize the power of the cloud to save companies money by providing the capacity to run their own infrastructure without the expense of traditional phone service. The benefit of using a cloud service over a traditional server is that the providers rarely experience outages or downtime. They also have the ability to maintain lower costs by using fewer servers. This allows providers to offer unlimited bandwidth and higher data limits. Some cloud providers charge a nominal monthly fee in addition to their standard plan rates.
- As you can see from the above information, there are many different business phone systems that can meet the needs of your organization.
- However, one aspect that you need to take into consideration is whether or not you’re going to be better served by a hosted VoIP provider rather than a pstn solution.
- While both services have strong advantages, a hosted solution may provide you with the flexibility and real-time functionality that you need.
- If you have unlimited calling plans and a strict data center utilization requirement, a cloud-based system may be a good choice for your business.