If you take stock of all the ways your business relies on bandwidth, you might be surprised to find out how central it is to your day-to-day operations. Businesses large & small depend on the Internet…to run everything from operations, to finance, to sales & marketing.
Since we already rely so heavily on bandwidth in so many ways, it’s not surprising that large numbers of businesses are switching to hosted VoIP. Productivity-boosting capabilities like auto-attendant & voicemail-to-email only add to the attractiveness of the low monthly cost of VoIP.
Be aware, though, that the plug & play VoIP products sold to residential consumers & home-based businesses are poorly suited for commercial use – regardless of how actively they may be marketed as such. In fact, converting your business to hosted VoIP correctly requires a preliminary assessment from a qualified telephony expert, for the purpose of analyzing your existing bandwidth, internal wiring setup, and network configuration.
Businesspeople should also be advised that inadequate preparation before switching to VoIP can lead to a numerous difficulties down the road– from poor call quality, to dropped calls –even a significant reduction of your overall network capacity. Imagine inadvertently reducing your usable office bandwidth to a tenth of its current capacity – simply by plugging in the wrong VoIP equipment for your network configuration!
When researching hosted VoIP for your business, be skeptical of the claim that allowing your voice & data to share a single network is desirable or efficient. It can actually be quite the opposite. If you happen to have an overwhelming abundance of bandwidth, then your calls & your data may be able to live harmoniously on a single network. But if you have several employees, frequently push large files, or rely heavily on cloud applications, your call quality on a shared network is prone to be unreliable. This is because data transmissions compete with voice transmissions whenever they are being routed simultaneously on a shared network.
To ensure your hosted VoIP works clearly & reliably, your local business phone expert can equip you with a separate voice data loop on which your VoIP can travel. This is essentially a separate Internet connection over which your calls can be routed, independent of your other data. Not only is the separate voice data loop available at little or no cost to you… having one also greatly simplifies the matter of troubleshooting, should any issues ever arise. A voice data loop from your telephony provider also reduces the likelihood that your VoIP will go down during an Internet outage – a key point for businesses concerned with the service reliability of their broadband provider.
Switching to hosted VoIP is an increasingly popular choice in today’s bandwidth-reliant business environment, but remember: doing so with the help of a local telephony expert is your best bet, not just for cost savings, but for your long term satisfaction & business productivity as well.
Author Justin Neff is a Senior Account Executive at BendTel.