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VoIP Equipment

To take full advantage of all the benefits that VoIP has to offer, it is necessary to evaluate different VoIP equipment options. Some basic items to consider are listed as follows:

  1. How many new IP phones do you need and what will the upfront cost be?
  2. Are Ethernet ports available in every office?
  3. Do you need to upgrade any network switches to support IP phones and VoIP?

The good news is that your service provider will be able to help answer some of these questions with you. The bad news is that you need to research and confirm that the equipment that is being recommended is right for your business, as well as pricing.

Step 1: Decide if You Need New IP Phones

If you are considering changing your phone service provider and your business is already using a hosted VoIP solution or an on-premise VoIP phone system, then there is a good chance that you do not need to purchase new phones. However, it is critical that you confirm phone compatibility with the new service provider that you are considering switching to or it could be a costly mistake.

If your business is switching to hosted VoIP or an on-premise IP enabled phone system, then you will need to either purchase or rent IP phones that support the call control protocols used by the phone service provider you choose. Often, you can purchase equipment directly from the service provider at a good price. Keep an eye out for providers that offer free phones or 2 for the price of 1 deals. This can save you on up front costs and make the switch more viable financially.

Step 2: Identify Key Phone Features that you need.

Even the most basic IP phones have a good number of features so a business can save a lot of money by selecting the most appropriate phone for its needs. Some popular devices are listed as follows to give you an idea. For extensive information on makes and models please visit our IP phone section.

Manufacturer Model # Price* Lines Connection Protocols
Cisco SPA303 $ 3 SIP, SIP 2.0, SPCP
Yealink T22P $ 3 SIP, SIP 1.0, SIP 2.0
Polycom IP335 $$ 2 SIP 2.0, Lync
Cisco SPA504G $$ 4 SIP, SIP 2.0
Yealink T28 $$ 6 SIP, SIP 1.0, SIP 2.0
Polycom IP550 $$$ 4 SIP, SIP 2.0
Cisco SPA525G $$$ 5 SIP, SIP 2.0, SPCP
Polycom IP650 $$$$ 6 SIP, SIP 2.0

* $ = lower cost to $$$$ = Highest cost

The number of lines that a phone has tends to push the price up. Connection protocols are important as well because if your current or new service provider does not support one of these protocols, then the phone will not function. Other features that can affect the price are:

In summary, all of the technical items are generally taken care of by any service provider.

Step 3: Identify Other VoIP Equipment Requirements.

Some other items of equipment that you may need to consider purchasing are listed as follows:

Equipment Price* Reason to Purchase
Phone Headsets < $50 Although IP phones have excellent speakerphones, the majority of employees will likely prefer to use a headset to keep conversations private and respect their work neighbors
Phone Power Supplies < $50 Required if no power over Ethernet is available
Power over Ethernet Switches Varies Preferred method of powering IP phones and avoids the extra cost of power supplies. Pricing depends on port count and software features. Quality of service (QoS) feature support should be evaluated to ensure voice packets are properly prioritized over data in the IP packet. QoS helps avoid choppy or dropped calls.
Router Additions/Upgrades Varies New or upgraded routers may be required to ensure redundancy, throughput and packet prioritization.
Analog Telephony Adaptors (ATA) $50 to $100 You can continue to use your existing analog phones but they will need an ATA to work. That means you need to purchase an ATA for every existing Analog phone that you want to keep and use. Due to the cost and the productivity benefits of IP phones this may not work out a good choice in the long run.
Ethernet Cabling N/A Purchasing and installing CAT5e Ethernet cable can be expensive depending on the size of the installation. Most offices will already have this cabling installed but it is definitely worth checking to avoid a costly surprise.
Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) Varies Network equipment should already be connected to a UPS to avoid issues during power outages. If no UPS currently exists, then it is recommended that a UPS is installed to ensure that phones (and service) keep working during a power outage.

* Average price range. Prices subject to change.

If you are seeking an on-premise system, then it is likely that you will need to perform a very thorough evaluation of your existing network. Most service providers can help with this and advise on any recommendations.

Step 4: The Bottom Line

Although additional equipment is often required to be purchased when upgrading to a VoIP solution, the overall benefits typically far outweigh this cost. Businesses should evaluate the annual cost savings that such a solution can offer while considering any up front equipment expenses. In most cases the overall cost savings and productivity increases that VoIP provides will easily justify any potential equipment upgrades.

For businesses that are currently researching to find the best service solution, please take a look at our table of popular providers below:

Business Providers Comparison Table Ads (USA) Full Feature Comparison >>
Provider $/month Provider Highlights FREE Setup Minutes * User Reviews Details
  • 40+ Built-in Features
  • In-house Customer and Tech Support
  • Reliability of the Vonage Cloud
YES Unlimited (4.3)
109 Reviews
  • Trusted by 300,000+ businesses
  • Unlimited Voice, Fax, Text, Conferencing
  • Risk Free - 30-Days Free Trial!
YES Unlimited (4.3)
169 Reviews
  • #1 VoIP Provider by Frost & Sullivan
  • Includes online softphone & mobile app
YES Unlimited (4.1)
74 Reviews
  • 40+ Features, Including Free Video CRM
  • Use any Bandwidth and Phones
  • Salesforce AppExchange Partner
YES 2.9c/min (4.9)
3 Reviews
  • Amazing service
  • A top rated provider
  • #1 in customer satisfaction
YES Unlimited (4.5)
183 Reviews

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


Author: Tony Campbell

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