The Plain English Guide to: Voice-over-IP (VoIP)

Published

Executive Summary 

  • Voice over Internet Protocol, also known as VoIP, is a form of telephony delivered exclusively via the internet. Cloud-based VoIP systems bring all the benefits of traditional landlines, (plus a few more), with none of the drawbacks. 
  • Because VoIP services can be delivered via the same broadband network as your existing office internet connection, VoIP offers reduced running and installation costs versus traditional landlines. 
  • VoIP is an excellent choice for SMEs in the UK, especially in a world with hybrid working becoming the norm. Switching to VoIP is straightforward and offers much more flexibility than existing landline installations. 

Introduction 

The internet has revolutionised almost every aspect of business life.  

From emails to instant messaging to cloud storage and beyond, business is now done primarily online – but not every aspect of business life has totally made the jump.  

Telephony is a good example of a technology which is still split between more conventional methods, like landlines, and more modern cloud-based solutions, like Voice over IP or VoIP.  

If you’re not too familiar with VoIP, or you’ve been considering switching to a cloud-based telephony system for a while, this Plain English Guide has been designed to answer any big questions you might have.  

So let’s dive right in.  

What is Voice-over-IP (VoIP)? 

Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, is a digital telephony system which delivers the traditional landline business phone experience entirely via the internet.  

Unlike the conventional copper-cable landline phone system, also known as the public switched telephone network, or PSTN, VoIP transmits voice communications through a broadband internet connection. It does this using the very same connection which already serves the company’s premises, making a switch to VoIP simple and straightforward.  

Because Voice over IP is a digital service, much of the feature set of conventional landlines can be emulated in software. This means that all of the classic business-critical phone features – conference calling, phone extensions, even customisable hold music – do not require a PBX (Private Branch Exchange, a term for landline business phone systems), and are simply available out of the box from your VoIP service provider.   

VoIP vs. traditional landline – what’s the difference? 

Of course, it’s hard to definitely say that one solution is better than another, but we think it’s a tough case to make that conventional landlines can beat VoIP.  

In the final comparison, VoIP simply beats conventional telephony in almost every aspect. Here are just some of the ways that VoIP differs – and improves upon – copper-based telephony systems: 

  • Easier installation and maintenance. Because there’s no reliance on the antiquated copper cabling of the telephone system, getting started with VoIP is faster and easier. Plus, if something goes wrong, the fix is often centralised with the internet connection, rather with one of the individual phone connections in a traditional system. 
  • Lower overall costs. Connecting your premises to the landline phone system will involve installing a PBX, setting up multiple hubs and switches, routing copper cabling, installing ports, connecting to the PSTN – and that’s just to get up and running. With VoIP, you can simply install a handset, configure your VoIP software, and you’re good to go. 
  • Freedom and mobility. Perhaps the biggest reason that VoIP beats a landline setup is that your telephony is not tethered to one single location. With VoIP, calls can be routed to any device with an internet connection, anywhere in the world. When hybrid and remote working is becoming the norm, this is almost essential for any business.  
  • Upgrades can happen over-the-air. Whether making improvements to feature sets or underlying network quality, with VoIP, there’s no need to yank any cabling or dig up the road. Updates are delivered seamlessly over the air, keeping your business secure and your telephony system working optimally.  

Why should your business switch to VoIP? 

Now that you’re up to speed on what VoIP is and how it compares to the more traditional landline telephony system, you’re probably asking ‘why should my business use VoIP?’ 

To answer that, here are a few of the most convincing reasons that VoIP is the right choice for your organisation: 

  • You can unshackle your telephone system. In a world of hybrid and remote working, being tied to one landline in one physical location is no longer practical. With VoIP, your phone line can be available from anywhere with an internet connection, anywhere in the world.  
  • VoIP systems are almost infinitely scalable. In the past, when telephony relied on physical copper cables wired into the office based on a PBX (a landline business phone system), scaling a workforce up could become frustrating when expanding networks involved downtime or physical work. With VoIP, adding users is as simple as clicking a button. 
  • VoIP offers features that landlines can’t (easily) match. Because much of the VoIP telephony system is software-based, adding or enhancing call features is a simple and inexpensive process. For example, it’s easy to enable call queuing or call recording on any VoIP system, but to do the same on a landline service would take considerably more work or even new in-office hardware. 
  • Affordability across the board. Because VoIP calls are transmitted via the internet, they don’t incur the costs involved in piggybacking on copper-wire phone systems. This is especially true for international calling. VoIP systems, on the other hand, will offer much more flexible call pricing – and be cheaper to install in the first place, to boot.  
     

Is switching to VoIP a complex or expensive process? 

One of the concerns we hear about making the jump to VoIP is that it will be a difficult or expensive transition process. We’re here to reassure you that this is simply not the case.  

It’s an easy mistake to make, as telephony systems seem like complex networks which must be integrated into a workspace, but VoIP works differently.  

Assuming you have reliable business internet already installed at your premises, the addition of VoIP can be as simple as installing a few DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) handsets or desk phones.  

Need business-grade VoIP services for your organisation? 

At Get Support, we know how important call quality is – and the real value of staying connected reliably at all times. That’s why we work closely with our sister company, Public Internet, to deliver industry-leading business-grade Voice-over-IP systems to companies all over the UK. 

Our VoIP systems use full-featured desk phones or cordless DECT phones – and we don’t tie you into an iron-clad phone rental contract. It’s totally flexible and built specifically around the needs of your business. Even better, our VoIP systems are underpinned by our enterprise-class connectivity solutions, meaning call quality is crystal clear and totally reliable. 

To learn more about our VoIP solutions and how they could help your business stay connected, call our team today on 01865 594 000 and we’ll get you started. Alternatively, enter your details in the form below and someone will be in touch soon.  

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