Planning for VoIP: the 3 S's- Survey, Study, Subscribe
Planning the move to Voice over IP can be broken down into 3 categories; Survey, Study and Subscribe. A little research, planning and knowledge can go a long way in making your move to VoIP fulfill your expectations. VoIP Mechanic has put together some information about planning for VoIP, for both business VoIP and residential VoIP service, with the most important items you will need to consider, along with suggestions that can be applied to these situations.
If you sell VoIP, either as a rep or a reseller, good planning and knowledge to avoid common VoIP pitfalls can make the difference between a successful business VoIP sale and one that is rife with problems. Knowledge and a good VoIP sales plan will make all the difference.
Make a Survey of your situation.
Consider some of the following:
- The number of VoIP lines you are going to need (simultaneous calls). A typical residential VoIP ATA has two phone ports, enough for two primary lines. Hosted VoIP solutions usually can be bought in "lines" or "talkpaths". If you require more than 2 VoIP primary lines, then you may need two or more VoIP ATA's or IP phones that connect via a router or Asterisk server. Virtual numbers will not count, as they are numbers that come in on the primary numbers, so for instance, if you require a toll free number, one for incoming calls, then that would be virtual number and not count as a regular line. For each line you may need 90kbps upload and download, unless you can use a compressed codec, such as G729, then those lines would require about 38kbps each.
- The location where you will have your equipment. Is there are phone wall jack near to this location? If not, then you may need wiring done, if you plan on connecting into your existing phone circuit. Distribute VoIP.
Faxing can be one major consideration, as VoIP is not the
ideal medium for faxing.
(Although faxing will continue to improve over VoIP as time
goes on and some of the technological issues are addressed.)
Faxing over VoIP can
be one of the single most important considerations that a small
business can make. If the following apply to you:
- You rely heavily on faxing for your business activities.
- You fax documents that are more than 4 pages in length frequently.
- You send or receive very detailed high resolution documents.
Then it would be best to maintain a regular copper phone line for faxing. The stability of faxing over VoIP decreases rapidly if any of the above circumstances apply.
If you also have DSL or maintain an alarm system that requires a traditional phone line to send the signaling properly, then this remaining copper line should also become your fax line.
- The type of broadband connection that you currently have. If you have a DSL connection, then you ,ay need to keep a phone number with that provider, (check with your DSL provider).
- Alarms, credit card machines and other modem devices and will they work over VoIP. Unless you have a credit card machine that works over a broadband connection, you may need to keep a copper line. The same holds true for your alarm, (check with the provider).
If you need an alarm that does work over broadband, check out Next Alarm, (you may even save more money).
If you are planning to install VoIP, then read about these 5 VoIP mistakes that can be made and the suggestions to overcome these pitfalls.
Study and read about VoIP.
We hope that our site offers you lots of practical information about VoIP, so take some time and use it as a resource. We also suggest that you talk to others who either use VoIP or sell it, as they can not only answer some of the questions that you might have, but also talk about specifics of their actual service and its features.
If you are a business, perhaps thinking about a VoIP solution for your next business phone system, then you will want to read about an Asterisk based PBX and hosted business VoIP. It could not only save you money, but give you the VoIP solution that you may want, plus deliver a fantastic feature set. Learn more about an Asterisk IP-PBX.
We have gone through a migration to VoIP, but many businesses and home users are still using traditional services. The migration to VoIP will accelerate over the coming years. Home businesses and small offices have so much to gain by switching to VoIP that most will make the move to VoIP over the next several years. Companies that have older PBXs will learn that with IP-PBXs they will gain features which will help to drive profitability. With travel expenses soaring, better ways to communicate will become the standard, with more and more home workers, all of which are features of VoIP. Asterisk, an open source PBX software, will lead the way for the move to VoIP capable PBXs (IP-PBXs) from the expensive traditional PBXs.
Subscribe to a VoIP provider.
Choosing which provider to subscribe to should be done after reviewing their features, learning about their support and reviewing their plans. VoIP Mechanic rates features, calling plans and support, first over price, as it is our belief that the difference of two to four dollars a month will not make you a more satisfied customer in the long run. If you don't get the features you want, nor get the support that you may need, then pricing becomes less relevant.
A note on power outages and the loss of VoIP.
Loosing power can cause your Internet connection to go down, which in turn will disconnect your VoIP service. If this happens you will not be able to make calls unless you are equipped with a back up UPS, which could power the connection for a limited short duration. Using an UPS to power your modem and VoIP ATA should allow an Internet connection to be maintained for a short duration and should suffice for short local outages. For larger outages the loss of Internet may be more problematic, for instance a cable company depends on amplifiers to power some of their equipment. If those amplifiers loose power then their system will go down in that area, including both TV and Internet.
"Call forwarding on non-registration" is a feature that allows incoming calls to automatically be forwarded to a predetermined number when your VoIP ATA is not communicating with your provider. For example, when your Internet connection goes down, either from loss of power or someone working locally on the line, and your VoIP connection is lost, your incoming calls will immediately go to your cell phone. When the Internet connection resumes and your ATA registers again, then it will receive the calls, not your cell phone. This feature, offered by some providers, is great stop gap measure so you won't loose any incoming calls, but does not help with outgoing calling.
Choosing the correct provider should be much more about the available features, number portability, and quality and service, rather than just low cost. Good customer service and technical support are two factors that will add to your lasting success.
Voice over the Internet will drastically change the shape of our communication world.