Installing a VoIP phone system is great but there are a few things you need to know in order to avoid possible problems with your new system.
You need a reliable Internet connection
Hands down, this is a must. You need both speed and stability. A good connection allows your VoIP to work properly. Avoid dropped calls with a good DSL connection.
VoIP is very attractive when it comes to call rates. Most providers offer unlimited minutes for a fixed monthly rate. However, there are other costs associated with VoIP such as hardware installation. Installation can start with a simple telephone adaptor and grow into more sophisticated hardware for big office networks. Some setups are simple that you can DIY them. Before installing one, consult an expert so that you can utilize your current equipment and not waste money in the process.
Know that your system will go down when there is a power outage. Traditional lines are not affected by this. VoIP uses equipment that rely on electricity. Ask your provider about contingency plans in case of power interruptions.
Protect your lines from eavesdroppers and identity thieves by encrypting your phone lines. Ask your vendor about security protocols.
This function is dependent on the provider. In some instances, having this function is a waste of money because some providers allow a caller to make it appear as if they are calling from a different number. There are also devices that allow one to modify the caller ID information.
You may have problems with emergency calls because they cannot be routed to a nearby help center as the system cannot locate users geographically.
A Quick Look at Other Phone Systems in the Market and their Costs
Business phone system costs vary widely. Basically, the cabinet cost, wiring, installation and units are already included in the fee. If you need optional features such as hold music, CTI, etc. they can also be included in your monthly service fee.
There are different price averages in phone systems. Adding extra features and lines can add to your total cost.
The average cost is based on the cost per user.
Key systems cost between £200-£600 per user. Add to that, the optional features that you need.
This is the cheapest in the market. The only actual costs that you will incur are the phones, setup and installation. This costs £60-£150 per phone. Added consideration includes maintenance and additional wiring.
This setup costs around £500 per user and can go up to £600 on average. If you have 100 or more users, the cost per user is significantly reduced because of scaling. This is popular among large businesses.
Cost is the number one attracting feature of VoIP. It is comparable to KSU-less systems and as a matter of fact, many KSU-less systems can be used as an Internet phone system. However, you need a router that increases your one-time cost. The average cost of this system is £60-£150.
Factors that affect the cost
Here are some things that can affect the total cost of your system.
In many instances, the installation costs are the same price as the whole phone system. Key and PBX systems require complex setup so you need to call the professionals to do the job. That costs a lot of money especially if your current wiring is not compatible or not enough for your new system.
Maintenance fees are usually already included in the price but if you want more, you will be charged more. Inquire about a good maintenance plan so that you can avoid problems in the future.
The cabinet is the central operations unit of your entire phone system. It is expensive. It can cost anywhere from £600 to £6000. The price depends on the size and complexity of the setup that you need.
Brand is a major factor in price. Panasonic phones are usually more expensive than Samsung, AT&T, NEC and Linksys. Price also depends on the features of a phone. Obviously, a phone that has a loud speaker, hands-free function, etc. costs more. If you don’t need high end phones, cheap phones in bulk can cost you just £60.
Hold music, CTI, etc. can cost you extra. If you have a limited cash flow, take the time to really list down what you need. If you do decide on an extra feature, make sure that it will help you get your ROI.
Some providers offer a free trial period. Take advantage of this and test out a feature you are eyeing. Most features included in the phone system are enough for a small company. Many big company features are also now available to smaller businesses at a fraction of the original cost. These features can make you look more professional so take advantage of them.