What are the Basic Requirements for VoIP?
Communication is a pillar of any successful business strategy. This makes solutions like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) a smart investment for any enterprise looking to streamline internal and external communication. VoIP is a relatively simple and easy to use technology, however there are some basic requirements needed to integrate it into your communications strategy.
Want to know more? Read on as we cover everything you need to know about VoIP, including exactly what the technology is and the infrastructure requirements for VoIP you’ll need to get started.
What is VoIP?
VoIP is short for Voice over Internet Protocol. The technology describes the use of a broadband internet connection to support voice calls, as opposed to a traditional land-based phone line. Call data is sent via a stable and secure internet connection which improves voice quality and reliability. VoIP offers the same functionality as landline systems, without the risk of service interruptions or the need for complex hardware.
Chances are you’re more familiar with VoIP than you may think. Popular voice call apps like Skype, FaceTime, Google Chat, Zoom and WhatsApp all rely on VoIP technology. When you invest in a VoIP system for your business, you’re essentially establishing your own private version of these services.
The benefits of VoIP
VoIP is an investment but for most businesses the technology quickly pays for itself in the form of streamlined communication. Before we find out more about what are the basic requirements for VoIP, let’s take a closer look at some of the key benefits of the technology.
Crystal clear voice quality
Nothing turns off customers like lacklustre voice quality. VoIP systems actively improve the credibility of your operation with uninterrupted connections.
Supports office-based, remote and hybrid workers
VoIP isn’t just for the office. A full suite of mobile and desktop apps makes it easy for remote and hybrid workers to connect to VoIP systems.
Facilities communication and collaboration between team members
Features like video and audio conferencing, as well as screen sharing, can help support communication and collaboration within your organisation.
From intuitive call management features to real-time analytics, VoIP systems can provide a much-needed productivity boost to organisations.
VoIP is a scalable technology and designed to support business growth. The best providers allow you to switch plans or add users without a fuss.
Minimise call spends
Instead of paying per call, VoIP offers clients a simple per-user-per-month fee. This keeps costs down and makes budgeting easy.
Getting started with VoiP
Hardware requirements for VoIP aren’t as complex as land-based phone systems, and you certainly won’t be dealing with the dreaded tangle of cords and cables. However, you will need a few basic things to get your VoIP system up and running. What are the basic requirements for VoIP? Here’s an overview of each:
The internet has reimaged how the world communicates, and phones haven’t escaped the revolution. The term ‘phone’ no longer describes a stationary unit connected to a landline. VoIP has seen smartphones, tablets, laptop computers, wearable technology and other internet-enabled devices step up as fully functional phones. So long as your device has internet capabilities and is compatible with your system it can act as a VoIP phone.
What about traditional phone systems?
From schools and churches to dental practices and medical clinics, many businesses are already equipped with Private Branch Exchange (PBX) phone systems. Thanks to Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Trunking, a transition to VoIP doesn’t mean you have to replace this infrastructure. The service allows you to transfer your existing PBX phone system to an internet connection and continue to use handsets as normal.
What are the basic requirements for VoIP when using PBX systems? Depending on the age of your phone system and infrastructure you may need to invest in supplementary equipment such as a VoIP gateway. More on this later.
VoIP is backed by the internet which means you’ll need a fast, secure and reliable connection to get started. It’s one of the most important requirements for VoIP and you have a few different options available:
- Fibre broadband
To maximise the benefits of VoIP it’s worth investing in fibre broadband. Almost 20 times faster than standard ADSL connections, fibre broadband is considered best-in-class for VoIP systems. Enjoy download speeds of up to 330Mbps and upload speeds of up to 50Mbps – more than enough to support crystal-clear voice quality and utilise all the features and benefits of VoIP.
- ADSL broadband
If affordability is one of your top requirements for VoIP an ADSL broadband can be a great solution. Fast, reliable and economical, ADSL connections offer speeds of up to 17Mbps. While unsuitable for data-hungry VoIP systems it can be a good choice for organisations that need a basic but dependable connection.
- Leased lines
When round-the-clock connectivity is a must leased lines raise the bar. Reserved exclusively for the client, leased landlines offer watertight security and lightning-fast speeds. Upload and download speeds are identical which means there’s zero lag when transferring data. This service is considered the crème de la crème of connectivity and is popular with large to medium sized charities that send high volumes of data to the cloud.
Modem and router
Next on the must-have requirements for VoIP is a modem and router. This hardware is the bread and butter of your VoIP system and allows devices to connect to the internet, as well as send and receive data.
Modems are the foundation and connect your business with your chosen Internet Service Provider (ISP). They physically connect your site with the World Wide Web and translate ISP data into formats compatible with your VoIP devices.
Routers are less about establishing a baseline connection and more about enabling communication between devices. They create a Local Area Network (LAN) within your space and allow multiple devices to connect to the same network simultaneously. As well as supporting internet connectivity for individual devices, routers allow devices to communicate with each other.
While not essential, a VoIP gateway is a worthwhile investment for many businesses. The technology converts traditional PBX phone infrastructure into VoIP systems. If your business is well-equipped with hardware like desktop phones and headsets, a VoIP gateway allows for a seamless and cost-efficient transition to Voice over Internet Protocol technology.
VoIP desktop phones
While internet-enabled devices like smartphones and computers are ideal for VoIP, many businesses prefer the look, feel and familiarity of traditional telephone sets. This is where VoIP desktop phones step up. They offer the same functionality as traditional desktop phone sets with all the technology and connectivity benefits of VoIP.
Equipped with earphones and a microphone, VoIP headsets offer a hands-free experience. They’re similar to VoIP desktop phones but connect directly with internet-enabled devices.
A best-in-class VoIP provider
A good service provider is essential when considering requirements for VoIP. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t cut it when it comes to VoIP. Why? Because every business is different and has a unique set of needs.
Here’s a few things to keep in mind when shopping around for VoIP service providers:
- Tiered packages
Look for providers that offer tiered packages, as opposed to a one-size-fits-all product. A nationally recognised charity with 1,000+ employees simply doesn’t have the same needs as a medical clinic with 15 staff. Similarly, the medical clinic won’t have the same budget and shouldn’t be forced to pay for advanced services they don’t need. Tiered packages are an instant sign that your VoIP provider understands the unique requirements for VoIP of their clients and offers products to match.
VoIP is a scalable technology and offers businesses the scope to grow without facing infrastructure challenges. A good VoIP provider should offer plenty of flexibility when it comes to things like upgrading your package or adding additional users.
- Hands-on maintenance and tech support
Some VoIP providers advertise rock-bottom prices but it’s often at the expense of essential services like maintenance and tech support. While VoIP is a far better option than landline networks, it isn’t foolproof technology and comes with a unique set of challenges. Investing in a VoIP service backed by a dedicated support team is one of the best ways to make your transition as smooth as possible and of course, avoid future issues.
- A specialised approach to your industry
There’s no getting around it – different industries have different needs. Choosing a VoIP provider that specialises in your specific industry can have a big impact on your experience. For example, some VoIP providers specialise in telecoms solutions for charities and third sector organisations while others cater to the needs of blue-chip businesses. Selecting a provider with industry expertise isn’t an essential requirement for VoIP but it can significantly improve outcomes.
Elevate your communications strategy with a tailored VoIP solutions
At VS Group we specialise in tailored VoIP solutions for businesses, charities and third sector organisations. We’re here to understand your unique requirements for VoIP and empower you with next-generation communications solutions designed to help your enterprise thrive. We back all our solutions with professional and friendly support so you can stay connected, regardless of what’s going on behind the scenes.