Business VoIP- The Benefits and Disadvantages

Voice over Internet protocol or VoIP allows users to make phone calls over local area networks LANs or the Internet. VoIP technology converts analogue voice signals into digital packets of information which can then be sent over the Internet enabling conversations anywhere in the world. 

The following are some of the advantages and disadvantages of VoIP:

Accessibility

Because a VoIP phone system is distinctly different from a traditional phone system, distance and location are not limitations. All communication is possible if an Internet connection is available. It is thus ideally suited to remote working or for employees working from decentralised depots.

Cost

The initial setup and ongoing costs are generally less for operating a VoIP system than a traditional phone system. A traditional copper-based line is not required as VoIP only requires an Internet connection. The convenience of VoIP also means that only one account, one bill, for both Internet and phone is needed. Costs are reduced because calls from PC to PC over the Internet are free. Calls from PC to landline usually have a cost attached but the rates are significantly less than with a traditional phone line. 

Flexibility and scalability 

A VoIP network offers flexibility and scalable since, unlike a PBX (Private Box Exchange), organisations are not limited to how many phones can be added to the system and the number of lines available within the system. With a VoIP network, you are only limited by bandwidth. 

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Voice Quality

With a reliable Internet connection and good bandwidth, voice quality is often better than that experienced with a traditional phone connection. 

Extra /Less Expensive Features

While traditional phone services have a selection of extra features at additional costs, VoIP has a wide selection of extra features like call forwarding, call waiting, voicemail, caller ID, three-way calling and more. 

VoIP also allows you, your staff, and your clients to have video conferences or meetings, access, and exchange data files while the conversation is ongoing. This allows for more integrated and flexible meetings that can seamlessly include people from multiple office locations throughout the world.

Disadvantages

Internet connections

A VoIP phone system is dependent on a reliable Internet connection with sufficient bandwidth to be functional

Power Outages/Emergencies

Power failures will interrupt the functionality of a VoIP network. While this may be a minor irritation if it happens rarely, it can be a major challenge specifically in South Africa with the chronic load shedding can cost an organisation in terms of lost calls. 

Latency

Due to bandwidth requirements, some calls may appear to lag, delay, or disappear altogether. This is because the packets of information need time to reassemble for an effective call to be made. This problem is becoming less of an issue as newer, more sophisticated data algorithms come into use.

The following aspects need to be considered if a business wants to make the switch to VoIP.

The business needs hardware for running off SIP. SIP (Session Initiation Protocol is how Internet telephony service providers (ITSPs) deliver telephone services and unified communications for customers equipped with SIP-based private branch exchange (IP-PBX).

The business owners must be interested in saving money and a greater scalability compared to their current system. VoIP allows organisations to grow into a phone network system in ways that a traditional PBX cannot. Additionally, businesses must have access to high bandwidth since VoIP will not function satisfactorily without it. 

Most business owners agree that the advantages of VoIP far outweigh the disadvantages. 

Business VoIP is growing in use worldwide. While the technology has countless advantages, it also has its share of disadvantages. Advantages include potential savings and greater scalability of systems. One disadvantage is that it requires a reliable Internet connection with high bandwidth availability. 

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