VoIP phone systems work by converting your voice into Internet Protocol (IP), allowing you to make a call directly from a computer, a VoIP phone, or other data-driven devices.
An Internet connection is required to connect to and use a VoIP system. While some VoIP systems only work using a computer or VoIP phone, other systems let you use traditional analog phones that are connected to a VoIP adapter. However, if you use a computer to make calls, you’ll likely need some sort of software.
Pros and Cons of VoIP Phone Systems
Minimal hardware installations? Since hosted VoIP systems are cloud-based, little hardware will have to be set up at your office, which can save money, office space, and time.
Remote office enablement? VoIP phone systems enable employees to make calls from a variety of devices besides traditional handsets. This gives remote employees the flexibility to conduct business how they need.
Scalability? With VoIP phone systems, it’s easy to add and remove users no matter where they are located, making it easy to scale up the size of a remote office’s phone system.
Flexibility? VoIP users can make business calls from most devices that have an Internet connection, such as tablets and computers. This means that users have the flexibility to conduct business how they see fit.
Low-cost calling? End users can typically make free or cheap international and long distance calls, saving businesses that conduct international business money.
Cheap? Smaller installation and maintenance costs mean that VoIP systems can quickly produce a ROI.
Unified Communications (UC)? Many modern VoIP systems offer some form of Unified Communications, which seamlessly integrates and consolidates multiple communication methods such as calling, email, and text into one place, thus streamlining business processes.
Downtime? If you experience Internet problems or power outages, your VoIP system may go down. Additionally, if your Internet connection is weak, call quality can be impacted. Because of this, businesses that employ a VoIP system must make a strong Internet connection a top priority.
Emergency calling? VoIP systems are not guaranteed to support emergency call services to numbers such as 911. Since VoIP calls can’t be easily traced to a geographical location, it can be hard for emergency responders to identify a VoIP caller’s location.
Security? Just like any other Internet-based application, VoIP systems can be vulnerable to cyber threats such as malware and Denial of Service (DoS). However, the right provider will know how to effectively outfit your system with the proper security settings and tools.
IT Staff Involvement? Since VoIP systems are Internet-based, your IT staff will need to be involved in some capacity to get it running and solve any issues that pop up.