In recent years, a popular telephony option for business has been Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service. It’s an Internet-based telephone service that uses computer networking protocols to transmit calls digitally as opposed to a traditional phone service via analog lines. VoIP can leverage a business’ existing Information Technology (IT) infrastructure to provide lower cost telephony with more options and features.
VoIP service has many benefits; however, if not planned properly before implementation it can be plagued by poor audio quality, dropped calls, latency, and jitter. Does this mean that VoIP isn’t a good option? The answer is no. VoIP can be a great option, but know that it relies on several parts that control the overall technology. Those things can include the internal business network, Internet Service Provider (ISP), VoIP service provider, and the Internet.
Internal Business Network
The systems administrator or a Managed Service Provider (MSP) is responsible for maintaining the internal business network. Part of this responsibility is to ensure the internal business network meets the requirements defined by the VoIP service provider. Before establishing VoIP service, it’s critical to coordinate with your systems administrator or MSP to review the internal business network and verify it can properly support the VoIP service. Any VoIP service issues that arise due to the internal business network configuration or equipment would fall under the responsibility of the systems administrator or MSP.
Internet Service Provider (ISP)
The ISP is responsible for delivering broadband internet service to the business. VoIP can be fraught with issues if the type of service and equipment provided by the ISP is not adequate. Your systems administrator or MSP and the VoIP service provider have no control over this part of the technology stack.
Common types of broadband connections for business are fiber, cable modem, digital subscriber line (DSL), and wireless. Out of these connection options, fiber is the best and most reliable. It’s typically a managed service where the ISP has a service level agreement (SLA) in place to guarantee speeds, uptime, latency, and support. The other broadband connection options can work as long as the internet service is managed by the ISP and SLAs are in place.
If the ISP’s SLA is “best effort,” the ISP will provide a best effort to resolve issues but will not guarantee a resolution. Therefore , there’s no guarantee for speeds, uptime, latency, performance, and support. Internet Service via cable modem, DSL, or wireless connection typically fall in the “best effort” category.
If your business relies heavily on a dependable phone service, then you should have your systems administrator or MSP, and the VoIP service provider review your current broadband internet connection prior to establishing VoIP service. If the broadband Internet connection is not sufficient or does not meet the requirements, a different connection may be needed. If this is the case and a new broadband connection is needed at a higher price, VoIP service may not be the best option for the business.
The Internet is the global system that interconnects computer networks that are managed by ISPs and other entities. If there’s internet connectivity issues that are not controllable by a systems admin or MSP, ISPs, or VoIP service provider, then you will experience issues with your VoIP phone service. In this situation phone service will be impacted and the systems administrator or MSP, the ISP, or the VoIP provider may not be able to resolve the issue. VoIP traffic travels in/out the business network, to the ISP network, through the Internet, to the VoIP service provider.
VoIP Service Provider
The last part of the equation is the VoIP service provider. They are the ones hosting and managing the VoIP service. The phone handsets that the business use connect to the VoIP provider systems through the business network, the ISP, and the Internet. The VoIP service provider manages call routing, extensions, greetings, voicemails, and the overall service. They play a critical role with the service delivery but there are parts of the technology stack that they do not control (Internet, ISP, local network).
To VoIP, or not to VoIP?
VoIP can be a good alternative to traditional business phone offerings. The key to a successful implementation is proper planning and review, especially since the technology stack requires a larger number of parts to work properly compared to traditional business phone services. If you are considering VoIP for your telephone needs, please reach out so that we can properly review the service and technology stack so that your implementation is successful.