The Good And The Bad Of VoIP

Voice Over Internet Protocol or VoIP is a type of technology that allows users to use the Internet to communicate via phone conversations in seemingly the same we do when we used analog phone systems. What VoIP does, is that it converts sounds into digital packages that are transmitted digitally through broadband connections. VoIP is very popular today and it has become a real alternative to more traditional methods that were more expensive and required more infrastructures.  Is VoIP the future of voice communications? Is it truly that much better? Is it worth switching over or are you fine with your current communication systems in place at your company?

One of the best things about VoIP is the low cost that entails. VoIP services usually have a flat monthly fee that depends entirely on the size of your company and the number of terminals you need to have installed. This means that no matter how many phone calls you make to other VoIP users, you pay the same. The network is just one, so as long as you have access to the Internet, you will be able to make long distance calls all over the world for free. Even if you need to make calls to regular landlines, it will still be cheaper than most long distance providers. When it comes to taxes, VoIP lines are not as heavily taxed as regular landlines so you will see a significant amount of savings when you add it up at the end of the year.

video-conference_voip
Image courtesy of Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine at Flickr.com

Another great advantage of VoIP is how portable it is and how easy you can simply pick up and move your “office” anywhere you go. It doesn’t matter if you are calling a business partner working a few blocks away or a supplier in the other side of the world, VoIP removes restrictions based on cost and connection that used to be location based limits. If you are traveling, you can take your number with you and as long as you have an Internet connection, you can answer your line just as if you were sitting at your desk back in headquarters.

VoIP systems are very flexible and easy to install. Using your current phones, you can actually convert your entire system to VoIP by simply using the adapters, that look like a USB drive and plugging your phone cable directly to them. Installing the initial setup is extremely easy and it requires no expert in the subject to get it done correctly. Another great advantage is that you do not have to worry about how big your team is going to be at the beginning, you can simply add more lines or take away the ones you no longer need easily.

One of the greatest advantages is the amount of features available to VoIP that come standard with packages instead of having to be added at extra charge. Things like call waiting, call forwarding, voicemail, caller ID and three-way calling are already there without having to worry about it. At the same time, you can be sending files or messages while you talk and it goes without saying that conference calling is a breeze without the need of expensive equipment to set up. Fax technology doesn’t have to become a thing of the past as it is also available through VoIP with features that allow you to easily turn documents into digital versions with the push of a button. Video conferencing is also great through VoIP since having a fast internet connection is pretty much a given nowadays, you can be sure to have great quality at lightning speeds to ensure excellent exchanges with partners all over the world.

While everything is generally positive when it comes to using VoIP, there are some disadvantages to the service, that while not being real deal-breakers in most cases, should be carefully considered and some contingencies should be put in place in other to compensate these shortcomings.

VoIP will not work during a power outage. One of the great things about old analog phone service is that even during blackouts, you could still use the machine because the electricity needed to power the device ran through the phone line on a different network. VoIP works through the Internet, so if your web connection is out, slow or deficient, you will run into trouble connecting effectively with VoIP as well.

voip-mobile-application
Image courtesy of Thom Cochrane at Flickr.com

Emergency calls using VoIP are unable in most cases to track your location because your phone line is not subject to a specific location. That it itself may or may not be a problem for you depending on your security concerns.

Just like most Internet technologies, VoIP is still vulnerable to a certain type of network security issues and it should be considered depending on the type of information your company handles.

For more great articles and information about VoIP and communication in general, check out our latest entries at Donald Burns Blog.

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