VoIP Requirements List

Phone services for small businesses have evolved a great deal through the years. At one time, small businesses were forced to get a long distance carrier. They would then spend hundreds of dollars a month on long distance phone calls. The internet, along with VoIP, helped change that. Now, businesses can use their broadband connection and eliminate long distance fees. In order for businesses to use this service, they have to meet some rudimentary VoIP requirements.

Broadband bandwidth?

The first of the requirements is a high speed internet connection. Businesses need to get a broadband connection, and they will need to get a connection that will be able to handle their phone traffic. Thus, a business that is not expecting a great deal of phone traffic can get a slower broadband connection. However, a business that expects a lot of calls will need a powerful broadband connection.

For most businesses, this is not a problem at all. It is now commonplace for a business to have a broadband connection. Work is now done over the internet, which means most companies are plugged into the internet.

On Premise or Hosted Phone Solutions?

Another of the fundamental VoIP requirements is to decide whether the business wants a hosted solution or if they want to host it themselves. Most businesses will want a hosted phone system as it removes a lot of the maintenance headaches and is typically much cheaper than an on-premise solution. With a hosted solution, the provider you choose will own the IP PBX, will maintain it and update it, they will also offer redundancy and power backup. The hosting companies can do this through an economy of scale model, as they will serve multiple businesses. This is one of the reasons why VoIP solution can offer such an extensive set of feature for very little.

If the business chooses to host itís own service it will still get all the great features but it requires a larger capital outlay and an IT professional to keep the system running.

Hosted solutions are typically best for smaller businesses with under 50 users, while an on-premise solution can actually be a cheaper option for larger businesses. While any business should evaluate the ROI, it is especially important for businesses of 30 or more users to compare the two options and decide which is cheaper in both the short and longer term. So also take into account the projected growth of the business and future telecom needs.

Calling Rates

Providers often offer either a fixed, per user rate monthly rate or a metered rate that varies costs depending on call volume. Take a look at recent monthly call volumes and determine which option will result in the cheapest solution for your business. There are also packages available that include a certain number of minutes in the monthly rate as opposed to "unlimited" minutes. This may also be a good option for a business depending on typical call volume. For example, if a business has 10 phone users and monthly call volume is typically under 5,000 minutes for the entire company, it is likely worth considering purchasing ten, 500 minute plans and request that the minutes are pooled. This will likely be cheaper than purchasing the "unlimited" plans that offer unlimited calling.

Budget

As part of the ROI calculation, determine what your budget is for this project. be sure to include fixed up front costs for equipment such as new IP phones.

Outage Plan

Phone service is typically a business critical requirement and if the power goes out or if the hosting provider goes down, then your phones will go down. This can be avoided by having backup power and also by discussing this with the provider up front and understanding uptime guarantees and historic uptime information.

Finding The Best Provider

The last of the basic VoIP requirements is you need to find a provider. A provider will set up your account and make sure you have everything you need to get started. They will set up the system for you so you will be able to use it immediately.

When a good hosting provider is found, the business is able to have all of the benefits of VoIP service without having to worry about maintenance of the service. This is perfect for businesses that do not have the means to staff a full service IT department.

Small businesses are getting a lot of use out of this service. They are able to cut down on their phone bills, which is very important as the economy makes it harder than ever for small businesses to survive. The service offers the same features as a standard phone service, but it is considerably cheaper.

For many small businesses, a hosted solution is the perfect service. It is able to keep businesses connected to their customers without charging the outrageous long distance fees so many carriers charge. Businesses are able to have the same type of strong service as big businesses do, while staying within their budgets.

Pricing

If you are interested in pricing and reviews for VoIP companies that service the small and medium sized business market, take a look at our comparison table below which highlights some of the most popular providers in the U.S.

Compare Top Providers Pricing and Reviews
Provider* Highlights FREE Setup Minutes** Reviews Details
  • Our Most Popular Provider
  • 500,000 Business users trust Vonage
  • 40+ Built-in Features
  • In-house Customer and Tech Support
  • Reliability of the Vonage Cloud
YES Unlimited (4.5)
Read Reviews
  • Special: FREE Phones Offer
  • Trusted by 350,000+ businesses
  • Voice, Fax, Text, Conferencing
  • Risk Free - 30-Days Free Trial!
YES Unlimited (4.5)
Read Reviews
  • Gartner Cool Vendor. 50+ Features
  • 99% Customer Satisfaction Rating
  • Requires 5 Users Minimum
YES Unlimited (4.9)
Read Reviews
  • Amazing service
  • A top rated provider
  • #1 in customer satisfaction
YES Unlimited (4.5)
Read Reviews
  • Includes Phones on Select Plans
  • Outstanding Reliability
  • Incredible Features
YES Unlimited (5)
Read Reviews

** Most providers include an upper limit on minutes for their unlimited plans as part of a reasonable usage policy in their T&Cs.

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Author: Anthony


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