VoIP, or voice over internet protocol, is changing the way businesses communicate. Considering the full range of available functionalities and the relatively lower costs, it’s no surprise that this is becoming an appealing option for many companies.
Transitioning from traditional telephony to VoIP may appear challenging or complicated, which is why some companies still hesitate to take the leap despite VoIP’s many advantages. This is a common misconception — in truth, VoIP setup is a quick and straightforward process.
Planning Before Setting up Voice Over Internet Protocol
Before installing a VoIP system, there are many things that you should do beforehand to avoid delays during the setup process. First, think about your budget: how much are you willing to spend on your VoIP subscription? This will help you determine the level of service you’ll be able to get, as well as which add-on functionalities you can afford.
The number of potential users in your company also has a significant impact on your costs, so assess both the current size of your company and the projected growth of your team in the future. Doing this will give you a starting point for determining the number of lines you might need.
Drafting a setup checklist is an important step that ensures a more organised transition to your new VoIP system. Listed below are three essential items that you’ll need to review as part of the setup process.
- Internet Connection
VoIP depends on a fast internet connection, so if you currently have poor network infrastructure, you will need to address that before switching to a VoIP system. Your network should also be tested to ensure that it can handle the level of user volume you are expecting. Remember: the speed of your network connection will dictate how many VoIP phone lines can be supported.
We roughly estimate that a 500 Kbps connection can typically support three VoIP lines, at most. On the other hand, 10 Mbps can support at least 100 lines. A speed test will quickly tell you how many phone lines your network can support.
While the right equipment is needed for the user to maximise the many features of VoIP, the system is completely flexible as it can grow or shrink to meet the users’ demands. But all you need to get up and running is a phone and a service plan. Any additional equipment or hardware would be determined by your company’s unique needs.
- Functions Needed
There are many features and functions available today on VoIP platforms, so it’s really up to you to decide which ones would be important to you and/or your business. For instance, you may need multiple VoIP business phones set up in different office locations, so in-depth call routing rules would be a must. Or you may need a VoIP set up at home, so you can access calls even when you aren’t in the office through a mobile app.
The use of VoIP relies on the internet. When your connection is down, the VoIP features will not be accessible. That is why it is vital to make sure that you have a robust and stable internet connection that is capable of meeting VoIP setup requirements.
- Internet Speed & Compatibility
Ensure you have a compatible network. As mentioned earlier, a faster connection can support more phone lines. VoIP works over the internet, so your network needs to be stable and easily accessible.
- Bandwidth Capability
The bandwidth capability of your network determines the number of concurrent calls you can make at one time. VoIP services use a variety of codecs to compress and decompress voice data, allowing it to transmit signals through the Internet efficiently. Without proper bandwidth capability, calls may be disrupted and limited to a specific number only. Bandwidth capability plays an essential part in how much data you can send and receive one at a time.
- Additional Hardware Needed
Aside from the hardware inclusions that you get from VoIP phone providers, there is additional hardware that you may need to set up your VoIP phone system. Here are two of the most common equipment that you should also have:
- Routers direct Internet traffic; they impact voice quality and connectivity. This is what connects your devices to cyberspace.
- A VoIP Modem translates internet-based voice service from the working company to users’ telephones. Switches power VoIP and is its most vital aspect.
- Security Measures to Implement
Unsecured network communications are vulnerable to security breaches/attacks. It is essential to understand the inherent risks of using a VoIP system and take the necessary precautions. Cyber attacks such as identity theft, phishing, Denial of Service (DOS), and malware and viruses are some of the security threats that you might encounter with having a VoIP system. Implementing effective security measures require on-going monitoring for successful prevention of these threats.
- Back-up Data & Power
In case of power interruptions or outages, having a back-up power supply ensures the uninterrupted availability of phone service. It can ensure reliability in times of crisis and unexpected happenings which can help your business still run smoothly.
VoIP system uses cloud-based services for back-up data. Your data will be kept safe even with malware and hardware problems. Since all information and data is held on the Internet, it is easier to access it, but a strict security protocol must be put in place as well.
With the many features available on VoIP systems today, you should take the time to research and decide which features best suit your needs. Once you have a list of your must-haves, you can then begin evaluating VoIP service providers — this helps make your search much more efficient. Here are some factors you should consider during your search:
- Call Quality
VoIP calls used to be unclear and unreliable. Today’s providers deliver audio on par with traditional landline systems, if not better. But not all providers are created equal — make sure to check the consistency of their call quality.
- Call Monitoring
Call monitoring is a key part of a business’s overall quality of service (QoS) plan. VoIP call monitoring, also known as quality monitoring (QM), uses hardware and software solutions to test, examine, and rate the overall quality of calls made over a VoIP phone network.
- Conference Calling & N-way Calling
Conference calling is now widely used by companies as an alternative to in-person meetings, so this is an important feature to consider. N-way calling, on the other hand, allows you to add more participants in an ad-hoc conference call without conference bridges or access codes required. It makes global communication more efficient and possible wherever you go.
- Add-ons Needed
You might have a need for other add-on features such as Document Integration, Smart Voicemail, Intelligent Call Routing, etc. There are also other advanced features that some service providers offer. Many of these come as part of your VoIP subscriptions, which helps keep costs low.
Choosing the Service Needed
When deciding on how to set up a VoIP system in an office or home, it is important to understand that you have two service options: on-site VoIP hosting system and hosted VoIP system.
- On-site VoIP Hosting System
These VoIP systems “live” on-site. Depending on the equipment you choose, a premise-based solution may be cheaper compared to off-site system setup. With an on-site VoIP Hosting system, you get to enjoy the following benefits efficiently:
- Low monthly rates which mean you can save your phone system budget for other essential things that you need for your business to grow.
- When you have all phone hardware systems on-site, it is easier to customize different VoIP features such as call routing, scalability, and migration support.
- With an on-site phone system, you get the freedom to choose what type of VoIP phone system plan best suits your business.
- Hosted VoIP System
Requires no continued maintenance and offers simple scalability, hosting – which places VoIP servers in a secure facility known as a data centre – is better from a connectivity standpoint because everything is kept all together in one place and there is no need to move from one server to another.
Hosted VoIP system provides your business with the ability to expand without spending more than your initial expenses. It is because all equipment, servers, and services are already hosted by your VoIP provider, which means it already comes in an all-in-one package. Technical guides are also easier to maintain as providers can simply visit your office and fix system problems if there are any.
Preparing the Needed Hardware
After having settled on your service, you’ll need to prepare the hardware required to properly set up and configure your VoIP system. Although most VoIP providers don’t require you to purchase particular VoIP phones, getting one is ideal if you want to enjoy all the features VoIP offers. The type of hardware you’ll need depends mostly on how you intend to use it.
- SIP Phones
SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol that works with your VoIP Phones. They enable your net service provider to integrate essential phone services to your VoIP functionalities. It allows you to access email, online chat, and others via the IP network.
Softphones are software-based phones that are installed to any internet-enabled devices which allow you to make calls whenever and wherever you go. Your VoIP provider typically provides your softphone software with a user-friendly interface that functions the same way like a regular phone, so it is easier to navigate through it.
- Analog Telephone Adapters
Analog Telephone Adapters or commonly known as ATA is a device used to connect a regular telephone service to a computer which allows users to make calls through the Internet. It is usually connected to a modem, router, or directly to the cables in your computer.
The System Set-up
You’ve chosen your service and your hardware–now it’s time to get your VoIP system set up. Here is a step by step guide on how to build your VoIP system:
- Plugging-in the VoIP Phones
The majority of VoIP solutions allow you to make and receive calls via a web app. However, if you want to use desk phones, you will need to connect VoIP phone hardware to your network. Simply plug a cord into the port on each VoIP phone, and connect the other end to one of the ports on the back of your PBX box. If you are using a hosted PBX service, you can usually just connect the phone to a router or your desktop machine.
- Configuring the Voice
Connecting devices to enable voice signals of your VoIP phone system requires technical knowledge and assistance from your provider. There are specific electrical components that are difficult to navigate if you do it on your own that may cause echo sounds and unstable connection.
Ask your provider for help when configuring the voice of your VoIP because there are country-specific settings that you need to be aware of to ensure clarity during calls and prevent calls from getting disrupted.
- Configuring the Call Management
To keep up with competitors, organisations need to ensure the availability of customer service 24/7. To do this, you will need a reliable telephone system that can meet the requirements of customers, partners, and employees without sacrificing their daily tasks.
It means that the corporate PBX needs to ensure a very efficient incoming call management with effective call routing rules that allow automated call management.
- Setting up the Features
- Call Recording
Calls are often recorded for documentation purposes. This feature is usually included in the plans or packages that you purchase with your VoIP providers. To set up call recording in your system, you must follow these steps:
- Log In to your VoIP system and go to the admin portal then find System Settings.
- Under system settings, go to Call Recording.
- Below Call Recording, you will see the option Automatic Call Recording.
- Toggle the switch to Enable or Disable the feature and then click yes to confirm your option and click save.
You do not need any technical abilities to set up the call recording feature in your VoIP system. Just follow the simple steps above and you are good to go.
- N-way Calling
The ability of VoIP to connect several users into a conference call is one of the reasons why businesses prefer to have it as their communication system. N-way calling is typically set up already in your VoIP by your provider. To initiate N-way calling, follow the simple steps below:
- While you are on an active call, press Conference on your device to put the call on hold automatically.
- Dial the number of the party that you want to add in the call. When the call is successfully initiated, press the Conference button again to join both calls.
- Repeat the same process until all parties that you want to be included in the call are connected.
- All parties will remain on the line and can talk or discuss with each other while you connect with other parties.
- Once all parties are connected, you can join the call by pressing the Conference and start the meeting with everyone.
Please note that you can click the Cancel key to cancel any incorrect actions while dialling other parties.
- Configuring the Call Quality
Good call quality needs a stable and consistent internet connection. But at times, even with good internet speed, call quality is still substandard because your router is not giving enough usage bandwidth to your VoIP application.
So, QoS (Quality of Service) configuration comes to our rescue. This VoIP setup diagram tells your router to give preference to a specific set of IPs and Ports over other processes or applications that are using the shared internet bandwidth.
Nevertheless, it is recommended that you use high-speed DSL, cable, or fibre-optic connection with dedicated upload and download bandwidth for the voice of 60Kbps or higher for each voice line you plan to run.
- Connecting VoIP Mobile Apps
This is optional but if you’d like to connect your VoIP to a mobile app (given that the application allows it) and take your business with you even outside of the office, just search for your VoIP service and download. You can see recommendations on how to connect VoIP phone to wireless networks. From there, log in to your subscription information and then follow on-screen instructions.
- Configuring the Add-ons
Just like any other systems, add-ons are crucial in having a better VoIP phone system. In order to configure add-ons to your VoIP, follow these steps below:
- Go to your VoIP settings, and then find Tools then select Manage add-ons.
- Click on Show to see all add-ons options that you have in the system.
- After that, click on the add-ons that you want to have in your VoIP and then toggle the button to Enable or Disable the add-ons.
- Click save
You have the option on which add-on you would want to enable or disable. It can be changed from time to time, depending on your business needs.
Easy & Efficient
As you can see, setting up a VoIP phone system isn’t difficult, provided that you properly plan and select the right service provider. It’s only during the planning stage that you will find setting up a VoIP phone system confusing, but once you are done with that stage, things will go smoothly. That is why choosing the right plan and reliable VoIP providers are very important in setting up a VoIP system.
In this digital age, with the advantages outweighing the minor drawbacks of setting up VoIP a phone system, it is only notable to choose a simple, reasonable, and practical provider. A hassle-free VoIP set up is only possible if you have a trustworthy provider like Wave that understands your business needs.
VoIPTech Solutions provides a reliable VoIP phone service that helps your business grow. Our system features are designed to bring your communication technology into a more straightforward and higher-quality system.
For more details regarding the services we offer, please contact us through this number 020 3745 0201 and or visit our website!