5 Simple VoIP Setup & Implementation Requirements
Small business owners and entrepreneurs reap the benefits of having a robust office phone system. Using the best modern phone technology provides new capabilities so that your customers have a better experience when communicating with your company. Upgrades can likely be achieved for less than you are spending on analog telephone networks thanks to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). This system allows users to make and receive phone calls using the internet. A typical internet connection is enough to offer the bandwidth required for good-quality telephone calls.
We understand that upscaling your office telephone system can be quite daunting. So in this implementation tutorial, we’ll go through the 5 VoIP setup requirements you need to have to achieve a successful migration.
Further reading: Analog Phone System
Why VoIP Phone Systems?
By migrating to a VoIP office telephone system businesses, regardless of size, achieve enterprise-level features including the following:
- Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system – a technology that enables users to communicate with computer-operated phone systems.
- Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) – answers and distributes inbound calls depending on the caller’s needs, extensions dialed, and other factors.
- Call recording – used to measure call quality and training efficiency, monitor compliance, improve sales scripts, and achieve more extensive marketing intelligence.
- Web-based programs – give managers the ability to configure the portal, its users, settings, and notifications with a simple click from anywhere in the globe.
- Local unlimited usage, consistent international call rates, free intra-network calling, local telephone numbers accessible across all locations
Voice over Internet Protocol costs a lot less than legacy telephone networks. Finances also become simpler with VoIP since CAPEX is massively reduced and maintenance contracts are not needed. VoIP providers take care of system maintenance, updates, and security.
Check out our other article: Customer Service Process Flow
VoIP Setup Requirements
To ensure that your organization effectively deploys internet phone systems, you must consider the VoIP setup requirements listed below:
(1) Your Local Area Network (LAN)
You won’t get the full experience of driving a sports car on a dirt road. When it comes to internet phone systems, your internet connection is the car and the road is your local area network. To get the full benefit of an internet phone system, you must ensure that you have a smoothly paved road with little congestion. If you think of your LAN as the phone system road, you need to know how much load your LAN can carry.
If you heavily use your network or often send large files online, then you might want to consider setting up a separate network solely for your internet phone traffic. The decreasing price of switches will also make upgrading your LAN connections cheaper. Your VoIP system’s quality of service (QoS) makes investing in a separate network worthwhile.
Have you seen the other article: Parts of a Call Flow?
(2) Your Internet Connection
The major cause of the problems you will encounter with internet-based phone systems has to do with your internet connection. Going into VoIP, you probably want to save on cost, but keep in mind that you may need to increase your internet capacity so you can handle the added traffic you will be sending and receiving.
To ensure that you have sufficient bandwidth, ask your potential phone system provider how big their data packets are, then multiply that to the number of calls you’ll most likely be made simultaneously. This should show how much bandwidth your VoIP phone system will require to function well.
Many internet providers offer services like “bandwidth shaping” which prioritizes your digital voice packet. Remember to ask your internet provider if they can offer this to you — it will be a big help.
Read more: How to Connect Phone to Ethernet
Latency refers to the time it takes for data to reach its destination. The delay usually depends on the way the data is routed. High latency results in dropped calls and poor voice quality. Successful internet phone implementation typically requires latency of fewer than 30 milliseconds.
A strong internet connection means successful IP phone integration. Why? The better your internet is, the shorter the delay will be. Measuring your internet quality can easily be done by looking at the Jitter and Ping. These two metrics define the quality and consistency of your network. The Ping and Jitter need to be 70 milliseconds or less in order to have a smooth calling experience. Here’s a free VoIP internet test to assess how fast and stable your network connection is.
One of the VoIP setup requirements is the hardware. The good thing is that the hardware requirement for VoIP is relatively small because the entire server is hosted on the provider’s network or on the cloud. All you need are telephone devices that can be purchased pre-programmed at a local electronics store and a few other devices that you most likely already have. An internet router and modem are surely needed but we detailed some recommendations below for the sake of completeness.
VoIP phones are connected to your internet and are pre-programmed with your account information. A wide range of IP phones is available on the market. These phones range from affordable telephone devices to higher-end executive phones. You also have the option to go hard-wired or wireless. It’s often recommended to opt for wired devices for better security and quality. In some cases, you might prefer to use adapters to connect your existing analog phone to a VoIP system. You also need Ethernet cables for each telephone device. A majority of today’s phones have an in-built Ethernet port to connect to the internet.
Related: How Does VoLTE Work
The modem is the device that gives your organization access to the internet. This usually comes free with the internet package given by your service provider. However, some providers charge a rental fee for the modem. The rental charges usually range from $7 – $15 per month. You usually have the option to buy the modem yourself, which is much cheaper than renting. It also poses fewer issues. Typically, an internet service comes with WiFi, modem, and router built-in one housing. Depending on the device model, this can sometimes lead to connection problems.
We invite you to check out this article: Why is Call Flow Important?
Although a router is not a strong VoIP setup requirement, using one is strongly recommended for security purposes. The router extends the firewall and the Network Address Translation (NAT) between your internet, your telephone device, and other devices inside your office premises. VoIP systems tend to be better off with only one router in the direction of the phone and your internet. Having more than one router, a double-NAT condition tends to disrupt the audio packets. Also, keep in mind that all SIP ALG settings in the router must be turned off. If you have low bandwidth, it’s recommended to enable Quality of Service (QoS) so that there’s sufficient bandwidth for your telephone calls despite heavy internet traffic.
(4) Battery Backup and Power-over-Ethernet
With internet office phone systems, you have to consider what your action plan will be in the event of a power failure. For some office buildings, this can happen frequently; others might experience few outages. One of the VoIP setup requirements is to decide whether you will install a backup battery system. Here are some important points you need to be aware of about battery backup:
- Power over Ethernet (PoE): PoE is a technology that allows IP phone systems to be powered by using either ethernet or normal network cable instead of power adapters that are plugged in the wall. This means that the telephone devices in your office premises can be powered using only one source making it easier to install a backup battery system.
- Uninterruptible Power Supply: UPS is a system that powers up your telephone devices during power failures or outages. The device has an in-built battery that supports your telephone system, keeping it fully operational despite power failures.
The easiest way to keep your office telephone system functioning is to incorporate a Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) switch on all your telephone devices. The PoE will be connected in the same room where your internet router and modem are located. This gives you the ability to perform battery backup on all devices with a UPS. You only need to connect your PoE switch along with the internet router and modem to a substantial UPS device. That way, it remains running when there are power interruptions.
(5) VoIP Service Provider
The final VoIP setup requirement you need is, of course, an IP service provider. A number of VoIP services are in the market. Most offer hosted PBX, IP PBX, and other SaaS solutions.
It’s not a strict requirement but here are some considerations you can ponder when looking for a VoIP system provider:
- Reliability and Security: Be sure that all of your expectations in terms of reliability and security are met by your potential IP provider. Ask whether they have redundancy integrated into the serum. Is it secure? It’s important to know these matters before making a commitment.
- Phone Numbers: Enumerate all your existing phone numbers and be sure that they can all be transferred to an IP system.
- Features: Figure out your required features. For instance, do you need automated answering services? What about teleconferences, call recording, digital voicemail, and other features?
- Pricing: Contrast the pricing offers of different providers. Don’t forget to check if you’re paying for features you don’t need. Also, make sure to ask about additional fees such as regulatory changes and the like.
In many cases, all you need to do is plug in your VoIP system, navigate through the device a bit, and you’re ready to go. In other cases, especially if you have a firewall up, you might need to communicate with your provider more than once to get the system working. The good news, however, is that VoIP doesn’t require being tech-savvy. The system is extremely easy to configure and integrate with other applications for a more streamlined communication network.