Business VoIP Equipment
More businesses are making the move to VoIP, but before doing so, it’s necessary to consider what business VoIP equipment will be needed. There is no standard list—what you need to buy will depend on your scope of operations, and whether you plan on using an on-premises plan for VoIP, or a hosted service.
Business VoIP presents companies with big opportunities for savings. With a minimal investment in business VoIP equipment, it’s easy to deploy VoIP throughout the company, even at multiple branches. For those companies with multiple locations around the country, business VoIP is especially crucial, since calls between locations can be made by extension dialing—with no long distance tariff at all.
Small businesses will benefit both from additional services, and cost savings, but before moving to a VoIP solution, a small business needs to understand what sort of business VoIP equipment will be necessary.
It’s not always necessary to switch from your existing phone system, and this is a big advantage for companies that may already have dozens, or even hundreds of office phones already in place. However, an IP phone does offer some advantages, in that it is designed to take full advantage of all the features that VoIP calling has to offer. However, should a business wish to continue using their existing phones, it’s usually a simple matter to do so, and a low-cost VoIP phone adapter can be used to make this happen.
The IP PBX
Business VoIP can be provisioned either on a hosted basis or on-premises. For companies that choose an on-premises model, the advantage is greater control, and lower cost for high-end services like videoconferencing. When a business wants to deploy on-premises VoIP however, the IP PBX will represent the most important buying decision. The IP PBX, like a conventional PBX, is the heart of the telephony system. It works just like a conventional PBX, except that instead of plugging into the public switched telephone network, it plugs into your business broadband connection.
The IP PBX you choose will have a big impact on what features are available to you. In a hosted model, adding features is simple and straightforward, but with an on-premises model you may be more limited. It may be tempting to purchase a lower-end PBX, but keep in mind that this will have fewer features, and may not accommodate your company’s growth. When buying an IP PBX, don’t buy for today—think about what features and what capacity you may need two or three years from now. Otherwise, you may find yourself having to purchase new equipment sooner than you planned.
An older fax machine is made for conventional telephony, and your VoIP system may not work with your older fax machines. Keep in mind when provisioning VoIP in your office, your list of business VoIP equipment may need to include a new IP-enabled fax machine. To keep costs down, you may be able to use a low-cost adapter to use your existing fax machine over your VoIP network, but a newer system may offer several advantages. IP-enabled fax systems may allow you to provide fax services to every desktop in the office, so your employees can send and receive faxes directly from their desks.