Businessman using phone

Do you need a special phone for VoIP? (and other questions you’ve been afraid to ask)

You’ve heard of VoIP, but actually looking into it can be a scary thing.

But you don’t need to worry. In fact, voice over IP technology is easily the current standard for forward-thinking businesses telephony.

Still, it’s normal to have questions around its implementation. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

Question: How can I tell what plans or service options I need?

You will want to start by deciding how many users you will need VoIP service for and what bare-minimum features you will need (like voicemail and the ability to transfer calls).

The number of users is important because that number will help you hone in on the service plan you will need from any VoIP providers you shop.

The minimum features are important for a whole different reason.

VoIP services come with a lot of bells and whistles, so it’s easy to get lost in the options. Start by deciding what your minimum requirements are so you don’t accidentally talk yourself into advanced features you don’t really need later.

Did you know? Businesses may reduce the cost of international calling up to 90% with VoIP solutions in place.

Question: Do I need special phones or hardware upgrades in general?

VoIP is great because it allows you to be flexible with the hardware you use. You can purchase IP telephones that look and function the same way as traditional office phones.

However, that’s not strictly necessary. VoIP phone systems can be entirely software based.

If you opt for omitting hardware, you can run your entire phone system with headsets connected individual workstations and/or smartphone apps.

Keep in mind that there are both pros and cons to this approach.

You will definitely save money, but there’s a learning curve, too. And some of your employees may not be crazy about the idea of wearing a headset instead of picking up a receiver, which feels familiar.

Question: Do I need to worry about my internet connection?

Most likely, your internet connection is just fine for VoIP service.

Most business plans provide more than enough bandwidth to support voice calls as well as standard internet traffic.

That said, what if your internet traffic is higher than the average?

Or what if you have a particularly slow business plan for internet service?

Or what if you have a bandwidth cap?

Know what you’re working with before you start researching specific options. If you need to upgrade your bandwidth first, take care of that. An IT provider can help you determine ahead of time if your infrastructure is ready for the transition.

Question: How do I determine how much I should spend?

Make note of the fact that so far, we haven’t suggested you start comparison shopping. There’s a good reason for that – you will want to scope out your needs before you start comparing to avoid sensory overload.

There are options all over the map in terms of features, requirements and budget. Decide what you’re actually prepared and able to spend before you give serious consideration to any options.

Keep in mind that VoIP and UC allow workers to do their jobs from virtually anywhere in the world. This type of flexibility can lead to a rise in productivity of nearly 20%.

Even if the investment is more than you’d like, keep in mind the cost savings that will occur from the switch.

Question: Do I really need a VoIP plan?

Whatever you use for telephone service, either POTS or a VoIP solution, we’re talking about an important part of your business communications.

Even with the rise of email and IMs, there are still plenty of times when the best communication option is still a phone call.

But VoIP services aren’t all built the same. There are all kinds of advanced features available out there, along with providers and plans that have different offerings in terms of service quality and pricing.

Questions: Can I get help with VoIP system implementation?

While VoIP services are a great option for SMBs, you will get the most out of VoIP when you have solid support.

As it turns out, that’s what CTSI is here for.

If you don’t already have a communications solutions partner, we suggest that you think about getting one. Not only will that make the switch to VoIP easier, but it will also benefit your business across the board. Want more helpful business IT advice? Check out how to protect your data when working remotely