The VoIP Business Case

In the past, businesses have used the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) for their business phone needs which is basically a circuit switched network.  This system is neither efficient nor cost effective because with such a system a telephone call essentially takes control of the telephone line for the entire duration of the call. In addition, the PSTN is a heavily regulated network so taxes are charged on every single telephone call.

Given that PSTN is such a poor system, the move to VoIP business phone solutions has been rapid over the last few years. VoIP technology offers many advantages over the traditional circuit switched system.

Some advantages are:

Instead of traveling over the PSTN which is heavily regulated, the voice packets travel over the internet. Calls are thus so inexpensive to make that many business plans charge only a flat monthly fee which covers all of your calls regardless of their destination or duration.

With business VoIP receive your faxes and voicemail via email or with a web browser, caller ID, conference calling, and call forwarding.

No circuit switched Private Branch eXchange (PBX), a large and very expensive piece of equipment, is required.  Such equiptment requires substantial capital expenditure and operating costs. 
With business VoIP all you needs is a router to route each packet based call over your broadband internet connection.  Calls are bridged from the internet to their destination by the business VoIP service provider, whether that is to a second VoIP phone user or the PSTN. There are a number of terms for this service, including hosted VoIP, hosted PBX, virtual PBX or IP PBX solution. Since all of the technology for handling your calls is managed by the business VoIP service provider, you can easily access and change your VoIP features (e.g. changing vm settings, changing autoattendant phone menus etc) through a secure website interface that your business VoIP service provider manages.
Given that business VoIP is a digital packet based system, various Internet phone calls can be conducted at the same time and can be sent over the same Local Area Network (LAN) that is used for your computer data needs. This is very cost effective.
Business VoIP dramatically simplifies portability and installation. Assuming your IP telephone or analog telephone adapter is configured for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), you can move your phone anywhere and still keep the same phone number since it will receive an IP address dynamically. It is estimated that it can cost hundreds of dollars to move a telephone in a regular circuit switched network due to labor costs and the cost of reconfiguring the PBX. These costs are not incurred in a Business VoIP system since the IP network does not care about your location.

Bigger businesses have multiple locations either in a neighboring state, or even on the opposite side of the world. Usually these locations are connected to a company wide data network (Wide Area Network for example), and with a Business VoIP system, extension dialing means geographical location is irrelevant making it easy for a large business to save money on their phone bills. An employee in Atlanta can call a colleague in France through a simple 4 digit extension at no cost. How is this possible? Simple– the call is routed over the company’s network on the internet instead of through a traditional long distance calling.

If you are going away on business – take your IP phone or Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA) with you and you can take your number with you or you configure your phone to call-forward.

All telephone and data administration can be handled by one Information Services (IS) department.


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