VoIP phone system for small office

dblacharski

I'm provisioning my new office, and need a phone system, with maybe about five extensions. It probably doesn't make sense to deploy an on-premise PBX at that level, so a hosted VoIP sounds like the way to go. What are some of the things to look out for with hosted VoIP, and how will it compare with a standard PSTN system as far as quality and cost?

Tags: voip
Topic: Business
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Answers

7 total
Vote Up (44)

Great question - not all hosted providers are created equal.

 

1. Features: Make sure you are getting the features you need and want. Most providers have the most basic features like hold and transfer but other providers have unique features like hot desking (using any phone on the network) and mobile twinning (sending calls to your cell phone and desk phone) that can really enhance your operational  efficiency and improve employee productivity.

 

2. Equipment: This is a big area to keep an eye on. The brand of phones used and the types of phones offered should be an item to check. Make sure that the physical phone you are getting is from a quality vendor. There are a lot of cheap phones on the market from unknown vendors and while they look great in a picture, the worst thing that could happen is you get the phone on site only to figure out it is not a quality product and you just signed a contract. Also make sure that you can get the types of phones you want. You may want a small phone for a lobby or point of sale and a conference phone for the board room.

 

3. Pricing/Business Model: There are two general flavors of pricing models: unlimited per user plans and the custom plans. Unlimited plans are simple to understand but your often stuck paying for features you may not use and you can easily over buy. If you have 5 users and buy this type of plan, you likely get 5 lines too. The odds of you needing 5 lines for 5 users are slim. Custom pricing plans let you tailor the service to your exact requirements. And if you need more, you just buy more for a set price. Also make sure you understand if you are buying or renting the phones. Buying phones may be a good option but if they break or need to be upgraded to get a new feature, you are on the hook for paying for that. This varies greatly by provider and a few offer both buy and rent options.

 

4. Call Quality: Just like pricing models, there are two general flavors of hosted providers. The first we'll call Internet-based. These providers only use the Internet to transport calls from your office into their own network. This is fine for smaller companies or remote users but you need to make sure you have enough bandwidth and you should attempt to manage Quality of Service) on your local network to prioritize traffic. The second type of provider offers these services over a managed circuit and generally will guarantee call quality and reliability. Some of these providers also offer Internet-based access as well, giving you the flexibility to scale up or down as needed, depending on your requirements and applications.  

 

5. Vendor Experience: This is probably the most important item to consider. VoIP is not a new technology and the barriers to entry intop this market are low. I would bet that a new Hosted IP phone provider is born every week in the US. Some may be great, others will fail and you could be left high and dry for voice service. Check to make sure that your provider is capable of delivering servcie for a long time. Review any and all financial data you can so you know the health of the company you are signing up with.

 

I hope this helps.

 

Russ

Broadveiw Networks - www.broadviewnet.com/OfficeSuite


 

MuqtadaKhalid
Vote Up (41)

I must suggest your to get in with MintTec.com they are the best in providing VoIP Phone Systems to Businesess. Just contact them and get quote. I must say they must justify there services :)

voipserviceproviders.com
Vote Up (41)

A hosted VoIP solution is far superior to an on-premise PBX.  Your entire business phone system is maintained remotely, no expensive hardware to buy, no software to download which ultimately allows you to focus on your core business.  One of the biggest advantages that seems to get overlooked is redundancy or simply put your data is backed up usually acrooss multiple servers.  Important voicemails are never left to chance.

 

When your business decides to grow past the five extensions, you may want to look into a managed VoIP solution as this tier provides the design, and deployment of telephony equipment and software, as well as the maintenance and management of existing phone solutions and the new phone network.

 

voipserviceproviders.com

 

 

jimlynch
Vote Up (35)

Hi dblacharski,

You might want to read PCWorld's article on How to Buy a VOIP System. It will give you some helpful background before you make any purchasing decisions.

http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/135915/how_to_buy_a_voip_s...

sandeepseeram
Vote Up (29)

Kerio Operator is a small business phone system. Using VoIP, it simplifies voice communications while offering advanced phone features typically associated with enterprise phone systems like conference calls, call forwarding, call pickup, call recording, ring groups, office voicemail to email, Busy Lamp Field (BLF), auto attendant, and call queues. Since Kerio Operator utilizes your existing data network with the industry standard SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) to transmit and manage calls, management of the phone system has now shifted from a phone expert to the IT administrator. It has an intuitive web interface so that previously expensive basic and common tasks like adding/changing/deleting office phone extensions can be done quickly and without expert help. It's now much more practical and affordable for a small business to sound big.

 

Sandeep Seeram

 

sandeepseeram
Vote Up (29)

Kerio Operator is a small business phone system. Using VoIP, it simplifies voice communications while offering advanced phone features typically associated with enterprise phone systems like conference calls, call forwarding, call pickup, call recording, ring groups, office voicemail to email, Busy Lamp Field (BLF), auto attendant, and call queues. Since Kerio Operator utilizes your existing data network with the industry standard SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) to transmit and manage calls, management of the phone system has now shifted from a phone expert to the IT administrator. It has an intuitive web interface so that previously expensive basic and common tasks like adding/changing/deleting office phone extensions can be done quickly and without expert help. It's now much more practical and affordable for a small business to sound big.

 

 

sandeepseeram
Vote Up (24)

Cisco has small business solutions in VoIP, very efficient but price tag is little bit expensive compared to other service providers...

 

Sandeep Seeram

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