Voice over Internet Protocol—VoIP—is a technology that allows people to make phone calls using their internet connection. VoIP has become one of the best phone service choices for both consumers and businesses. Why? Because it offers more capabilities and advantages than traditional phones at a significantly lower cost.
Let’s look at 10 advantages of switching to a VoIP service in 2021.
1. Low Costs
The cost of phone service is often one of the most important aspects for every business. One way that companies can save on operating costs is by switching to a VoIP phone system. VoIP plans can start at less than $20 for each line, compared to landline systems that can be upwards of $50. Most companies can lower their phone bills by more than half of what they currently pay.
There are two ways companies can realize cost savings by adopting a VoIP system: direct and indirect costs.
2. Direct Costs
Direct costs savings from switching to a VoIP service comes from three areas:
- PBX costs—PBXs are physical hardware that connects landline phones in an office building and are often quite expensive. With a VoIP network, the need for this hardware is nonexistent because it runs off of a broadband connection.
- Copper wiring—VoIP networks allow data and voice on the same channel, eliminating the need for extra wiring. Most VoIP phones only need an ethernet connection to operate.
- Calling expenses—Data prices used to make VoIP calls much more expensive than they are today. Since the fall in data carriage costs, almost any company can reduce their phone bill significantly by switching to VoIP.
3. Indirect Costs
Indirect cost savings that come with VoIP services include:
- Remote work—Since many businesses have more remote employees now, VoIP systems let them stay connected to the company’s phone system from anywhere. Businesses save on utility costs and office resource costs when more employees work from home.
- Free features—Features from PBX systems like group ringing, call transfer, call queuing, etc. are typically add-ons that you have to pay extra for but come standard with most VoIP services.
Other than cost-efficiency, another huge benefit of VoIP is its accessibility. You can make calls from anywhere with a cloud-based VoIP service. Anywhere you have an internet connection, you can receive and make calls for your business. When you can’t answer the call, VoIP lets you direct them to another person or even send the voicemail message to your email.
In a mobile workforce, having remote accessibility lets your business stay flexible no matter the situation. Mobile employees can continue to be productive regardless of where they are. VoIP can also adapt based on how each of your employees works. They don’t need to be present at the office—they can work from their devices from anywhere using VoIP.
5. Portability & Multitasking Support
VoIP numbers—or virtual numbers—are entirely portable; you can use that same number no matter where you are. For employees who travel frequently, this is great news for them and the company. Even better is that if your business address changes, you can still keep the same VoIP number.
Other than making traditional phone calls, VoIP systems let you send images, documents, and videos while chatting on the phone. You can seamlessly hold integrated meetings with employees or clients around the world.
Scalability is a massive advantage of VoIP systems, and it makes them an attractive option for growing businesses. Doesn’t a phone system that grows with your business sound like a great benefit? That’s one reason that many companies go with a VoIP system.
VoIP solutions do away with the necessity of purchasing expensive hardware and dedicated lines as your company grows. Whether you’re opening a new office or prepping for a spike in demand, VoIP systems can scale with your needs instantly without having to worry about new hardware or phone lines.
7. Advanced Features
No matter the size of your team, VoIP comes with advanced features that benefit everyone involved. Features like call transferring an auto attendant let even one-person shows offer the same level of customer service as the largest companies.
For businesses with clients in various states, you can use VoIP to call using the local area code, making customers perceive that you’re local even if you’re across the country.
Many smaller companies utilize the auto-attendant features of VoIP to make the company look larger. For example, a one-man startup could set up their auto attendant to make it sound like the company has multiple departments with different people answering the phones.
VoIP also comes with multi-party calling capabilities, which gives it yet another advantage over traditional phone systems. Organizations of any size often need a separate provider for conference calls, but VoIP services enable various people to join a single call. VoIP providers for business include built-in conference calling with their service.
8. Call Quality
If your only experience with VoIP was when it first emerged, you’d know a significant disadvantage at the time was its weak call quality. Latency was terrible, voice quality was poor, and calls would drop too often. However, you might be surprised to know that today, as long as your internet connection is stable, these issues are mostly a thing of the past.
The key to good VoIP call quality is good bandwidth and a robust connection. As long as you have those, VoIP systems can end the interruptions like background noises, delays, and echoes that can lead to poor call quality for your employees and customers. Especially with innovations like advanced audio compression and noise-canceling headsets, VoIP phones typically achieve better sound quality than their landline counterparts.
Softphones, despite their name, are not pieces of hardware, but they are programs installed on a smart device or computer that allow you to make calls over an internet connection. They offer your business the advantage of flexibility, giving you and your employees access to features supporting a remote work style. Other upsides of VoIP over physical phones include:
- Freeing up desk space
- Cutting additional equipment costs
- Allowing for portability
- Enabling the constantly connected workforce.
Phone security is a big deal for businesses, but many people don’t take the time to think about the security of their systems. Demand for PII—personally identifiable information—is at an all-time high. A common way people seek this information is by making fraudulent phone calls to businesses.
VoIP can help mitigate these security threats by using encryption and improved identity management technologies. VoIP providers work to protect their networks so that you don’t have to worry about the security aspect.
Securing your VoIP system means working with a trustworthy provider that undergoes regular security audits, ensures their staff follows security best practices and utilizes automated alerts for questionable calls.
Disadvantages of VoIP
While VoIP comes with many significant advantages, it does have some potential downsides.
VoIP Needs an Internet Connection
The biggest potential disadvantage of a VoIP service is that it’s only as good as your company’s internet connection. If you have low bandwidth, the call quality will suffer.
However, VoIP doesn’t use as much bandwidth as you’d think—100 kbps upload speed per device is plenty to host functional, quality calls over the internet. A good connection will have less than 70ms ping, which measures the stability and latency of your connection. The bandwidth that your company will need depends on how many concurrent calls you plan on making. You can determine the amount of bandwidth you’d need by running a bandwidth test on the current network.
Aside from internet speed, there are two other connection issues that can affect the quality of a VoIP call—jitter and latency. When communicating online through any type of message, the data gets broken down into data packets. Those packets get reassembled at their destination and recreate the original message.
Jitter and latency happen when those data packets hit delays or don’t get recreated properly. There are a few main reasons why these issues can occur:
- Internet connection—VoIP needs more bandwidth than just browsing the web. If your internet speed is lacking, it might be time to have a conversation with your ISP.
- Router—VoIP needs a specialized router that gives higher priority to voice data over other traffic.
- Insufficient cables—Ethernet cables come in a variety of categories and power levels. CAT-5e cables and higher are best for VoIP services—any lower, and it won’t be able to operate at sufficient speeds.
VoIP comes with limited location tracking. Because of its accessibility and portability, it’s difficult to pinpoint where a phone call originates from. VoIP calls come from IP addresses without any cell tower or GPS data to track. Most of the time, this isn’t anything to be concerned about, but it does cause issues for emergency services. If you call in an emergency situation over VoIP, you’ll have to communicate your location clearly.
Ready to Make the Switch to VoIP?
Looking at VoIP’s pros and cons, it’s clear that, for most businesses, making the switch to VoIP makes sense. At Ring2Cloud, we’ve helped many businesses transition from their old phone systems to a unified VoIP solution. If you’re ready to make the switch for your business, get in touch with our communication technology experts today!