Companies of all sizes are giving up their traditional phones in favor of a VoIP service. A good VoIP service will not only give you lower calling costs but also open up opportunities to improve your business’s functionality. If you’re thinking of making the switch, here’s what you need to know to implement a VoIP service in Woodland.
1. Do a thorough assessment of your needs
For most companies, especially SMBs, the most practical way to undertake a VoIP implementation is to start by replicating your current system. This means that you need to understand your current usage to be able to calculate your bandwidth requirements and to be able to think about what you are going to need from a calling plan.
Once you have a basic VoIP system “bedded in” and working well, you can start upgrading it incrementally to increase its functionality. You may, therefore, want to start looking at what improvements are most pressing for you to see if you can do any preparation for them as part of your initial implementation.
2. Be realistic about the need for bandwidth
For VoIP itself, you need to make sure that there is a minimum of 0.1 Mbps per line. If you want to implement video calling then the absolute floor is 0.3 Mbps per line and that’s for low-quality webcams. For decent quality, you’re looking at 0.5 Mbps and for full HD it’s 1.2 Mbps. If you’re using a DSL connection, then you need to check your upstream speeds, not just your downstream ones. If you have an asynchronous connection there can be a significant difference between them.
What’s more, you want to aim to use a maximum of 80% of your available bandwidth at any given time and you also want the lowest latency you can manage. Ideally, you’d like to keep it below 20ms, below 30ms will also give you decent call quality. Anything up to about 70ms should be acceptable, although you may be skating on thin ice if your caller is also having issues.
If these requirements mean that you need to upgrade your internet connection, then remember to look at your backup connection to see if it also needs to be upgraded. If you don’t have a backup connection, then now is a good time to implement one.
3. Review your security
Routing your audio traffic over the internet will expose it to the threat of cyberattack so you need to take the usual precautions. You also need to protect your user access from misuse, accidental or deliberate. Having just said all that, remember to make sure that your firewall recognizes your VoIP service instead of treating it as a potential threat.
4. Choose your VoIP equipment
In particular, decide whether you’re happy just to use softphones or if you want standalone VoIP handsets (or a combination of both). Many companies, especially SMBs, like softphones because they work on hardware they’d be using anyway, such as regular computers or mobile devices. This is great in theory, but to work in practice the screen has to be big enough for the user to see the softphone clearly in addition to any other software they need to use with it.
5. Look for a business-grade VoIP service partner
Even if you’re only implementing VoIP for more affordable calls and never intend to use its more advanced possibilities, you’re still likely to find that consumer-grade products and service providers just aren’t up to use in a business environment. In fact, not only do you want to look for a business-grade VoIP service partner, but you want to look for one with a good reputation for service and security. Some VoIP service vendors may advertise to the business world, but do not provide the quality of service businesses need.
6. Undertake a pilot test before your full roll-out
If at all possible, have a small number of users (from across your organization) test your VoIP set-up in the real world before you roll it out across your organization as a whole. This should pick up on any “deal-breakers”, which have somehow slipped the net as well as flag up any minor irritations to be fixed as quickly as possible. If you really can’t do this, then try to implement and test out of hours and have a Plan B if your implementation goes wrong.
7. Educate your staff
Any new system brings a learning curve, but the nature of VoIP means that, at a basic level, that learning curve tends to be fairly shallow. Most of your staff will probably be perfectly happy with clear documentation, but you should be prepared to receive a few support calls as well.
If you’d like to speak to a reputable and experienced VoIP service partner in Woodland, please click here now to contact Aperio.IT.
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