Whether you are just now starting to look into getting a VoIP phone system for your business or want to improve the service you already have, there are some elements that are crucial for the proper functioning of your communications.
You probably already know that you require an Internet connection to use VoIP services, but sometimes that’s not enough; the connection, internal network and equipment used need to be optimized and used properly for the best results.
What do you need to install a VoIP phone system?
The Internet connection
Your Internet is pretty much the most important factor influencing the quality of your VoIP call quality. While VoIP calls don’t take much of your bandwidth (maximum 64kbps), you need to ensure that your package is enough to handle all your online activities. To do that you only need to make a quick calculation.
Note how many people will use the business phone line at the same time (not all employees in your company, unless you have a high call volume).
For example: You have 20 employees and you expect 10 of them to use the phone at the same time.
10 calls x 64kbps=640kbps This means that you will need an upload speed of at least 640kbps to accommodate all your company communications. If this is not a dedicated connection keep in mind that all your other activities (emailing, browsing).
Measure your upload (you can use online tests such as http://www.speedtest.net/); we take into consideration only the upload speed, which is usually lower than the download speed.
Network equipment and settings
The router is the centerpiece of both your data and voice networks, and it often is the number one cause of VoIP issues such as incoming/outgoing calls not working, one way voice, echo, choppy calls etc.
If your VoIP phone service and other online activities use the same connection it is important that the QoS feature is active on your router, to ensure that voice has priority on the Internet connection; this will ensure the best call quality even while your network is heavily used. Make sure that the more people you have using the phone, the more powerful your router is. Your firewall must allow VoIP calls to pass through, thus ensure that the ports indicated by your Hosted PBX provider are open (usually port 5060).
VoIP hardware or software
Choosing between the several ways to use a Hosted PBX can be confusing and you might be tempted to go with the most convenient option. Most VoIP providers recommend using a VoIP Business Phone for the best call quality and stability; however it mainly depends on your needs and available structure, as follows:
- If you have a wired internal network with Internet cables running to every desk choose an IP Phone. This VoIP equipment allows for the best call quality (including HD Voice) and full feature support. Our dedicated article on how to choose your IP Phone will make this decision simpler for you;
- If you have employees who move from office to office, travel a lot or working in a Call Center-type environment, then a desktop software (Softphone) is your best choice. This is also the case if you only have a wireless connection in your office;
- If you have people on the road, such as a sales team on the move all the time, a Smartphone app is going to allow them to be a part of the centralized business phone system even when outside the office.
Your quest in finding the best VoIP service doesn’t stop here; all your preparations might be in vain if you don’t find a reliable VoIP service provider. It is important to ask your VoIP Provider these 5 questions about your Hosted PBX and test their services before signing up.