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This Ain't Your Momma's VoIP: The New Solution For Small Businesses

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In its early days, VoIP got a bad reputation in the business setting, and rightly so. The equipment was expensive, the sound quality was low, and the systems weren't reliable. Fortunately for your business, those days are long gone. Voice over IP now powers even the largest business phone system with all the features and reliability you need to make your business function smoothly.


These days, there are consumer applications that will allow you to call other users using this tech for free. While these free applications still aren't suitable for most business applications, you can certainly make use of these technological advancements.

In most small businesses, you will be able to hook your new VoIP system directly into your existing network hardware. In some cases, you may even be able to bundle your VoIP service into your internet subscription. Even if you go with a secondary provider, you will be paying for a software package, rather than by the minute. This helps you keep your expenses predictable, even if you find a few extra long distance, or even international, calls this month.

Even in a situation where you want to run your own, dedicated VoIP hardware (common if you need additional control over the system), the cost and maintenance of a VoIP system is far below even traditional phone architecture. In many cases, this is because these systems are still just network hardware running modified software. That means your IT department will find installing and maintaining your system much easier.


Call quality over VoIP is all about bandwidth. Traditional systems require only a simple connection because they translate sound directly to electricity, and then use a physical connection to move the information to the other end. With VoIP, things are far more complicated. The sound is translated first to data, before being converted into electricity for its trip down the wires. This extra step alone increases the amount of information that must be sent. In addition, this information has to find its way through the massive amount of data that runs through the internet. Here again, extra information needs to be included to ensure your voice makes it to the other side properly.

Knowing this, it is easy to see why systems that run over the phone lines, such as dial-up and DSL simply don't have the ability to create a clear VoIP connection. There is simply not enough "space" to fit all that extra information into a traditional phone line. Modern internet connections have far more bandwidth, which allows for a clearer signal. In some cases, a voice over IP connection actually offers better sound quality than the aging phone system. In addition, real time video is becoming increasingly common as the space in the lines continues to grow.


Reliability is the last area that has hurt the reputation of VoIP. Phones don't rely on electricity, so they continue to function in an outage. With modern VoIP systems, you can control the hardware, which means you have the option of adding a battery backup to retain a connection during most power outages. As another option, you can use a cloud based VoIP service. While this doesn't help your phones work during a power outage, you can set up the system to forward calls to your employee's cell phones automatically instead. Again, this allows you to keep working, even when the lights go out.

While voice over IP may still not be the correct hardware to power any business, the list of places that need traditional equipment is getting shorter and shorter. The next time you are shopping for a phone system, you should at least consider the VoIP your consultant has available for you.