What is VoIP and how does it work?
VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. Rather than relying on analogue phone lines, VoIP utilises the power of the Internet to make and receive calls.
It’s widely considered that VoIP is the future of telecommunications technology and is set to replace the traditional landline over the next few years.
But what is it about VoIP that makes it so special? And is now the right time to switch? We’ve got everything you need to know, including all the pros and cons to help you make the right decision for your business.
What are the benefits of VoIP?
VoIP allows you to save significant amounts of money when compared to a traditional analogue phone system.
Firstly, because you’re using an Internet connection, you completely eliminate all the per-call costs you get with a normal phone line.
A traditional phone system uses something known as a PBX – a Private Branch Exchange. This piece of equipment can be expensive to purchase and has a limited life span. So you’ll have to replace this when the technology becomes redundant. VoIP completely removes this cost altogether as all you need is an internet line.
Another related cost benefit is that maintenance is far easier too. As there’s no physical on-site system, there’s no need for regular maintenance visits or expensive call-out charges for repairs.
A quick note – for businesses who currently have an on-site PBX and want access to some of the digital benefits of VoIP, a SIP Trunk can be a good option. See our SIP Trunk page for more information.
High Call Quality
Because VoIP uses digital technology, you can benefit from a greatly increased call quality. Assuming you have a reliable high-speed Internet connection, you should expect calls to be crystal clear.
VoIP also has the advantage of being able to leverage some great technology like clear microphones, noise-cancelling headphones, HD voice and more.
By providing access to a wealth of great additional features, modern VoIP systems are designed to be highly secure.
Access to modern security features like encryption, automated backups, spam filtering and fraud prevention work around the clock to keep your phone system safe.
In addition, remote access, monitoring and real-time alerts allow for a much greater level of visibility over any potential issues.
Of course, as VoIP is a digital technology it’s very important to ensure you have a good level of network security and protection in place. This will help prevent any external threats like viruses or denial of service attacks.
A VoIP system is incredibly easy to scale.
Whereas a traditional phone system would be limited by things like the number of ports on your phone system and phone handsets, VoIP has the potential for an almost unlimited number of users. This is because all your staff member requires is an Internet-enabled device to take and receive calls.
Manage and Record Calls
Call management and recording is another great benefit of VoIP.
In certain industries such as insurance, it’s vital to track and record conversations to remain compliant with legislation. Many VoIP systems include these features as standard.
Call monitoring is also a very useful feature to use internally. This can provide some great insights on stats like persistent callers, long on-hold times, average call time and more. This information can be fed back to the team to improve customer service levels.
Take and receive calls from anywhere
A key advantage of VoIP is the mobility and flexibility it provides.
When all you need is the internet, you’re no longer limited to just a handset, you can take calls on a desktop, laptop or smartphone as well.
This results in you no longer being tied to the office. Your phone system goes wherever you do. Whether this is the coffee shop, home office or airport, you’ll always be able to stay in touch with your team and customers.
Beat the Analogue Switch Off
In the UK, BT are switching off the PSTN analogue phone line network by 2025. Therefore, all businesses must have moved to a digital VoIP system before this date. By planning to switch over now, there’ll be no last-minute rush to beat the deadline.
What is one advantage of VoIP over regular phone calls?
The one main vantage VoIP provides over traditional phone calls is the reduced cost. By using the power of the Internet, you completely remove per-call costs and related maintenance and support charges that come with a regular phone system.
What are some disadvantages of VoIP?
Needs a good internet connection
The main thing you need to be aware of with VoIP is the need for a good Internet connection. Any downtime on your Internet line will result in you being unable to make calls.
The best way to mitigate this is to ensure you have a fast Internet connection suitable for high call quality. Check your line provider’s SLA that faults will be fixed in a reasonable amount of time. It’s also good practice to get a dedicated Internet line just for voice traffic. In some instances, businesses may need an additional backup line for extra security.
It’s worth remembering that VoIP represents a mindset shift away from completely relying on your office. So even if you briefly lost Internet connection at your office, you’ll still be able to receive calls with any 5G or Wi-Fi connection.
Latency can impact call quality
To guarantee high call quality from VoIP you need a fast and reliable internet connection. But what does this mean specifically?
The technical term is low latency. Latency is the time it takes packets of data to get from one place to another. If you have an issue on your line and it takes longer to send these packets, you’ll experience a reduction in call quality or even entirely dropped calls.
You can avoid this issue by ensuring you have an internet line suitable for VoIP. This can be further improved by keeping voice traffic on its own dedicated line and using network features such as QoS (Quality of Service) to prevent any packet loss.
Not ideal for emergency calls
Lastly, it’s important to be aware that VoIP is not the best option for emergency calls. This is due to the heavy reliance on the Internet line.
If this were to go down then it wouldn’t be possible to get through to the emergency services. It also wouldn’t be possible to determine the caller’s location from their phone number, unlike with a standard line phone.
It’s best to prepare for this by having a backup form of communication in place just in case.
What is the main disadvantage of VoIP?
The main disadvantage of VoIP is the heavy reliance on your Internet connection. If there are any issues with the line or if you experience any downtime, this will affect your ability to make calls.
What are the Benefits of VoIP for business?
There are numerous benefits of using VoIP if you’re a business.
Alongside the considerable cost savings you gain from removing line rental and call charges, you also get the advantage of being able to take calls from almost anywhere. This is fantastic for hybrid working and for generally keeping in touch. VoIP is also highly scalable and will grow with your business.
What are the benefits of VoIP for home?
VoIP at home is becoming a lot more popular due to many of the reasons mentioned above.
Only a few years ago, very few people would consider using VoIP at home, this is no longer the case. Since the big switch recently to remote and hybrid working, people are a lot more familiar with this technology.
The advantages are much the same as with business – having no line rental or call charges results in a considerable reduction on your home phone bill.
Setting set up for VoIP at home is a simple process. You need an Internet line and a VoIP-enabled device. This can be achieved by installing a softphone app onto your desktop, laptop or smartphone.
The last step is to choose a VOIP provider and you’re away.
Is VoIP better than a landline?
It’s clear to see that in the majority of instances, VoIP is a much better option than a traditional landline due to lower costs, no line rental and to avoid the upcoming PSTN switch-off.
A Quick Summary of the Pros and Cons of VoIP
Here’s a summary of all of the advantages and disadvantages of VoIP to help you make a quick decision.
|Needs a good internet connection
|High Call Quality
|Latency can affect call quality
|Not ideal for emergency calls
|Manage and Record Calls
|Take and receive calls from anywhere
|Beat the Analogue Switch Off
Is it worth having a VoIP phone system?
In summary, it’s highly recommended to consider moving to a VoIP phone system.
Whether you’re looking to simply cut costs by removing call charges, increase flexibility from being able to work from anywhere or access great additional features like call monitoring and recording, VoIP has numerous advantages over a traditional phone system.
If you’re looking to switch over to VOIP, make sure to contact the team here at Tetra Networks. We are telecommunications experts with several decades of experience in the industry.
Many of our clients have managed to fund the costs of their new phone system through the savings that we’ve managed to make.