If you’re reading this, I probably don’t have to convince you that Mobile VoIP phone systems are leagues better for your modern business than traditional solutions.
But, just to refresh your memory, let’s compare traditional, old-school phone systems (PRI trunking) with VoIP (SIP trunking) side by side.
|PRI Trunking||SIP Trunking|
• Expensive monthly costs
|✓ Low-cost, sometimes free|
• Stationary, contrary to most business needs
✓ Portable, convenient for mobility and business expansion
• Can be hardware heavy
✓ Little hardware required
|• Requires professional help|
✓ Easy to install, use, and troubleshoot
Now, all this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of VoIP telephone.
Of course, all good things come with caveats: a good reason not to go with VoIP is if your internet connection has low bandwidth. Low bandwidth limits the number of calls at a time that your system can handle. If you expect a heavy call load (especially during peak business hours), this isn’t exactly what you want.
Don’t get me wrong, though; I’m all for VoIP over PRI. Although there’s a reason only most businesses use it — for some people, good internet is a luxury they can’t afford. And choosing one phone system over the other depends entirely on your circumstances and what exactly your business needs.
But you’re here because you’re already interested in VoIP—the problem is, you’re not exactly sure how complicated it’s going to be setting it up on your own.
Good news is, despite what you might think, it’s pretty simple.
You see, contrary to PRIs (which usually require servicing from a Telco to deploy, upgrade, or troubleshoot), VoIP phone systems are designed to work right out of the box.
By the end of this guide, you’ll be thoroughly equipped with the knowledge you need to install, configure, and use your very own VoIP phone system.
Let’s dive right in.
When you realize how simple it truly is, the transition to VoIP from analogue becomes a no-brainer.
For your business, you can choose either software (AKA softphones) or hardware (special VoIP phones). This decision only depends on what your business needs. You can have either or both — but, for convenience, most businesses who’ve transitioned to VoIP use both.
In this section, we’ll discuss the hardware aspect of VoIP and how you can get set up — quickly and easily.
Choosing a Type of Phone
Now, you’re probably wondering what these “special VoIP phones” are. There are quite a few options to choose from, and each one is more suited for a specific use than others.
When deciding which type of VoIP phone, each area of your business needs, consider the intended use of each type.
IP Conference Phones
IP conference phones are specifically designed for conference calls with several people, so they’re typically used in conference rooms where multi-party conference calls often occur.
Desktop VoIP Phones
This is a typical business-class VoIP phone. It uses Ethernet to connect to your VoIP phone system. Unlike the other types, desktop IP phones function almost exactly like their analogue counterparts. The only difference is they use your Ethernet connection to transmit voice, video, and streaming.
A softphone is simply a VoIP software application used for telephony. You can install these on your PC or your phone and complete phone calls from there. Some familiar examples of apps that use softphone functionality are Skype, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger.
These connect directly to your computer via the USB jack. You can use these in conjunction with the softphone applications I mentioned earlier. These are most prevalent in call centres where it’s highly preferred over 3.5 mm ones as USB phones generally provide clearer voice quality.
A videophone functions the same as a desktop IP phone but with an additional video function. A small camera and screen are attached to the unit which is used specifically for video call. These provide the user with a very convenient alternative for face-to-face meetings.
Wireless IP Phones
Using a VoIP Cordless Phone, you can have the base functionality of a desktop IP phone with added mobility. Using wireless technology, these allow you to move around freely during a call so you can focus on other tasks, untethered to your desk.
Analogue Telephone Adaptors (ATAs)
If, however, you’ve already gone for an analogue telephone and it just doesn’t make sense to go full-on VoIP, you can still opt for an adaptor.
The truth is, you don’t even need to purchase a new set of special VoIP phones to get your VoIP phone system running. You can use mobile phones, tablets, computers, or adaptors.
Now, the adaptor acts as a bridge between your analogue telephone service and your digital network, which helps ease the transition into VoIP even with your existing phone equipment. Overall, these are a smart choice for businesses that already have a set of analogue phones at their disposal.
Now that you’ve identified which type of phone is best suited for your business needs, it’s time to start setting up.
In most cases, setting up your phone is as easy as plugging it into your Ethernet system and configuring the settings on your phone. Some phones, such as those from Gradwell, are pre-configured and designed to work right out of the box.
Configuring Your Phone
The simplest way to configure your VoIP phone is through a web interface.
The steps for configuration via the web interface are usually outlined in your instruction manual and shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes to do.
But remember, these devices depend entirely on your internet connection to function well. If you have a high user volume, you should test that out versus your internet connection.
Testing out your connection before attempting any actual setup can save you a lot of time and hassle.
VoIP Phone Features
When using VoIP, you can opt for either mobile VoIP phones or telephones.
Each VoIP phone has different button styles, features, and interfaces for you to navigate, but they typically look and function very similarly.
In this section, we’ll look at the different features of a typical VoIP phone and what they can do.
Business Phone Models
As we skim through the various features that VoIP phones offer, we’ll be using the Yealink SIP-T42S for reference since it’s an excellent example of a run-of-the-mill VoIP phone.
Most VoIP phones look very similar to their analogue counterparts, so you might find the following buttons familiar:
- Answer Call (via headset)
- Listen to Voice Messages
- Answer Call (via speakerphone)
Some phones, apart from the apparent making and receiving of calls, also offer a variety of additional features:
Record both inbound and outbound calls. This often includes the ability to link with a CRM system and contact records.
Intelligent call routing
Based on conditions such as the location of call and time of day, you can quickly change your VoIP phone’s call routing behavior.
By allowing the caller to enter options via keypad or voice, you can more efficiently manage a heavy call load.
Since your VoIP phone’s QoS depends entirely on your bandwidth, traditional analogue phones will sometimes have higher audio quality. But, by using leased lines, which have higher bandwidth, your VoIP phone has the potential to have clearer call quality.
Voicemail to email
VoIP systems can also send voicemail to email, which is a practical solution for a mobile workforce. Sometimes, these voicemails will even include a text transcription.
For businesses that are always on the move, a more accessible, portable alternative is available for those who have to always stay connected.
You can download a softphone VoIP app like Wave from your app store and use them directly with your business line to make calls from anywhere.
Apart from being portable, these are even easier to set up, considering there’s absolutely no hardware involved. Very convenient for mobile businesses.
And, much like its physical counterparts, softphone apps like Wave also allow you to:
- Make and receive calls from anywhere in the world.
- Choose your professional VoIP numbers
- Customize hold music
- Customize voicemail
- Complete calls via desktop, tablet, and mobile devices.
Besides, it’s completely free!
Making the First Call
After signing up for your VoIP service and thoroughly configuring your phone, it’s finally time to make your first VoIP call.
Making 2-Way Calls
A 2-way call, as the name suggests, involves only 2 parties. These are as simple entering the receiver’s number then pressing the call button (easily recognized by either a headphone or speaker symbol, depending on what medium the call will be on)
Making 3-Way Calls
3-way calls can be initiated by adding another party to an original call through the following steps:
- Place the initial call on hold
- Call the second party
- Merge the second call with the initial call
Initiating a conference call (or N-way call) on a VoIP phone uses the same process as making a 3-way call.
- Place the original call on hold
- Call the second party
- Merge the second call with the initial call
- Repeat the process with all succeeding parties until the conference is complete
The process for initiating a conference call is much smoother on softphones where you can simply invite participants to a scheduled meeting and wait for them to accept.
Depending on the hardware you have access to and whether you have video-enabled, calls to and from another video phone will automatically include video. You can also turn off video depending on the nature of your call.
Due to lockdown measures as a result of COVID-19, people are resorting to holding meetings and classes online via video call through softphone apps such as Zoom and Skype.
Using the System Features & Add-Ons
This may come to you as a surprise since VoIP systems are relatively new tech, but they’re incredibly easy to use.
If you’re using Wave, after setting up your account, just use the control panel to manage every aspect of your system from the cloud — in seconds.
The user interface is straightforward and user friendly, which means that you can change configuration, users, and set up without needing professional help.
Here’s how to use a few of the system features that Wave offers:
Account management is extremely easy for VoIP systems. Some VoIP services, like Wave, allow you to manage your account directly from a control panel on its web interface.
You also have the option to enable or disable call recording through the web interface. In the control panel, you simply enable or disable either or both inbound and outbound calls.
Depending on your VoIP service, call recordings will be stored up to a period of 30 to 90 days. If you need to keep them for longer, you can download them from the control panel.
Wave also offers an optional upgrade to store call recordings permanently.
You may also download CDR (Call Detail Record) reports. These are records of inbound and outbound calls that provide a complete set of details about your calls.
Multiple User Calls
Using Wave, you’ll also be able to utilize its cloud phone system across your business premises as long as each of your sites has an internet connection.
Non-Geographical VoIP Number / International VoIP Number
As an add-on service, you also have the option to request a non-geographical number or international number.
So there you have it.
As you’ve now seen, each VoIP system has unique features that you can take advantage of to maximize your business’s capacity for communication —making for a more efficient work environment.
Here at VoIPTech, we’ve just introduced Wave as the premier phone system, purpose-built for SMEs and growing companies — perfect for remote working.
Wave allows you to:
- Stay connected from anywhere using any device.
- Save on expensive on-premise PBX systems, with a low-cost monthly rental per user.
- Get set up in no time with a phone system designed to work right out of the box.
- Manage your system from anywhere using an easy-access control panel
- Maximize business continuity by backing up all your settings, data, and configuration in the cloud
- Get a quick response and assistance from our excellent customer service team.
Modern advancements in VoIP technology have now made the transition as smooth as it can be. Businesses that opt for VoIP save up to 75% on communication — that’s why more and more companies are switching to VoIP.
Can you afford not to?
We usually set up our new customers in less than a day and can take care of everything for them.
Get in touch with an expert today on 0203 745 0201
You’ll be glad you did.