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Voice Over IP

VoIP For The Small Business

 Reducing your telecommunications costs

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has become a viable solution for even the smallest of companies as broadband internet access has become affordable and much more widespread. VoIP offers a low cost alternative to expensive traditional phone services, and is rapidly becoming the communications system of choice to reduce telecommunications costs. Hosted VoIP services are also gaining popularity among smaller companies since these services do not require any investment in hardware.

What is VoIP?

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), also called IP telephony, is the technology that allows you to make voice calls via the internet instead of traditional phone lines. You can make calls using a dial up connection or a broadband connection (however, a broadband connection is necessary for superior voice quality).

Business VoIP services

These services are specifically intended for business use, offering the quality of services required by professionals, and consequently are not free. Companies offering business VoIP services include Packet8, Speakeasy, Vocalocity, Covad, and Vonage, one of the top leaders in internet telephony.

Vonage offers small business VoIP plans and charges a low, flat monthly fee for allowing you to make national and international calls. Skype also has a plan for business users which allows you to make unlimited phone calls (to a landline or cell phone) within the U.S.A and to Canada for a very low flat monthly fee. There are many such options in VoIP service providers offering a flat monthly fee from which to choose the best one to suit your requirements.

Recommendations

Network assessment is essential to implement VoIP solutions effectively. Your network vendor can do this for you.

Microsoft also offers VoIP products for small business, such as Office Communicator and Microsoft Response Point.

A hosted VoIP solution is the best alternative for you if you do not want to invest in equipment and you do not have a dedicated IT staff to manage the service in-house.

VoIP phone services are affected by power outages. Select your hosted VoIP service provider carefully. Ask them about the backup system in case of a power outage, and whether they provide emergency call service (Enhanced 911 service or E 911). Also ask vendors about the features they offer, then select the vendor who provides you with the features that best meet your requirements.

Try to find a vendor who provides “roll to” features. In case you experience a power failure in your office, your calls will automatically be forwarded to another specified cell or landline number.

The service provider who offers the VoIP services on a per-seat basis