If you are changing your small business telephone system from a traditional dedicated fixed landline to the newer VoIP technology, there are some things you need to have in place to change successfully.
1. Internet Connection
To route your calls over the Internet instead of over the existing telephone fixed landlines, you need to have a powerful Internet connection and equipment to connect and communicate with.
If your small business is using a DSL or cable modem for your Internet connectivity, you need to research the bandwidth needed for of VoIP communications.
If you are one of 1-2 employees, then DSL or cable should work fine to meet your needs. DSL and cable modems are not ideal for VoIP, but they do work acceptably well for a very small office of just one or two people.
If your office grows to more than 2 users, your small business telephone system needs to grow also. It is time to consider a more robust Internet connection.
The standard DSL and cable modems offer you a quicker download than upload speed. This generally works fine for general computer usage, but it won't work so well for voice communication.
So, you will need to make sure that your Internet connection can support both the upload and download speeds that you need to have clear and consistent voice communication.
2. How Much Bandwidth?
The industry standard is enough bandwidth for about 1/3 rd of your employees to be on the telephone at the same time ... so if you have 30 lines, you should then have enough bandwidth for 10 to be used at any one time. With a business of this size, your small business telephone system will usually require a T1 connection to the Internet.
One of the best things you can do is to work with a provider who can support both your VoIP and Internet connection needs. This will insure that you have the bandwidth necessary to get both your calls and data needs taken care of.
3. Hub vs. Switch
In addition to bandwidth to the Internet, internally you should be using switches on your network rather than hubs. While hubs are fine for electronic data transmission, the transmission of voice over your network necessitates the need for switches to be used.
4. Media Gateways
If you already have a small business telephone system in place, such as a small PBX system, you can purchase a device called a "media gateway" to connect your existing phone system to the Internet without having to replace all of your phones and equipment.
This will save you money from the equipment that would have to be replaced to upgrade to VoIP services.
Moving your small business telephone system over to VoIP requires some pre-planning and consultation with an Internet provider. An experienced provider can offer the equipment and the know-how to make your move to VoIP quickly and without any inconvenience for your employees.