From POTS to VoIP – A Look at Today’s Top Phone Systems for Business
Although the development of the modern-day analog telephone, commonly referred to as a plain old telephone system (POTS), can be accredited to numerous individuals throughout history, it was Alexander Graham Bell who was first to actually patent the technology as an “apparatus for transmitting vocal or other sounds telegraphically” back in 1876. Fast forward, and today many residential customers and small businesses still use this archaic technology. The good news is, however, that while a portion of society has yet to venture away from this 142-year-old system, the world has in fact progressed, and far superior options are available to the marketplace.
For instance, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
In a nutshell, voice over internet protocol (VoIP), converts voice into digital signals allowing businesses to make voice calls over a broadband Internet connection instead of a regular (or analog) phone line. Aside from being much more cost-effective, one of the main reasons businesses opt for the technology over POTS is that VoIP services offer enterprise-grade features such as call queues, auto-attendant, call forwarding, music on-hold, and unified communications, to name a few. If a business decides to implement VoIP, there are a variety of ways they can physically deploy the service. For example, one way some businesses are making the switch without having to change all of their hardware and incurring additional cost is by deploying an ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter) which allows them to keep their analog phone system and take advantage of the cost savings immediately.
PROS of VoIP:
- Cost Savings – Certain VoIP providers, such as GeoLinks, can save companies up to 40% when compared to traditional phone lines.
- Ease of Use – VoIP is easier to install, configure, and maintain.
- Mobility – With VoIP’s ability to support UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service), a user is able to take and make calls from a standard office phone, a computer, and a mobile softphone.
- Enterprise-grade Features – as mentioned above.
- Bandwidth Dependency – Since VoIP functions over the Internet, it’s critical to have available and reliable bandwidth to complete calls. Thus if you’re on a poor internet connection, you may struggle with both inbound and outbound calls. Quick fix? Upgrade your bandwidth, sign up for a dedicated internet circuit so you never have to share your bandwidth, or bundle in an SD-WAN solution to issue voice traffic priority.
- Voice Quality – Once again, because VoIP depends on the Internet, if you experience latency your call quality may suffer. Thus, ensure you have a high-quality internet circuit with dedicated Voice QoS (Quality of Service) before making the switch.
If a business is looking to make the switch from a POTS to VoIP, and they want to deploy a more comprehensive solution than a simple ATA box, there are two primary systems to consider – an On-premise PBX or Hosted PBX system.
An On-premise PBX, also known as an IP-PBX phone system, is similar to a traditional PBX (private branch exchange) system in that it resides physically onsite at a business. The primary difference is that the signaling is completed with an IP phone to the IP-PBX server using a LAN. Calls can go through both a traditional phone company and VoIP by using SIP trunking. 1
- On-premise PBX offers customers more control, customization, and flexibility over their phone system.
- Supports ability to integrate company software programs i.e. CRM systems.
- No risk of fee increases post-install.
- Ability to SIP trunk to get lower cost calls.
- Upfront costs are typically very high.
- Maintenance costs are the responsibility of the customer, and some businesses may not have enough internal IT resources or the budget to make complex, expensive or highly customized changes.
- Initial deployment time or repair may take longer.
- Adds, changes and deletes are customer responsibility.
Unlike an On-premise PBX, businesses who deploy Hosted PBX systems connect through the Internet to a provider that maintains the equipment at an off-site cloud data center.
- Lower initial equipment cost and set-up cost.
- Upgrades and new features are typically included.
- Your provider shoulders all the work, risk, and complexity thus creating less dependency for costly in-house IT resources.
- Software updates happen automatically so your system is always up-to-date.
- Ongoing monthly service costs are potentially higher.
- Service provider has the control over your system making a business dependent upon the provider for any and all system maintenance and changes.
Not sure how to choose the right system for your business? No problem, call GeoLinks today and talk to an in-house expert to learn more and build the perfect system for your business.