Everything You Need to Know About Business VoIP Phone Systems and the Sunset of Landline Calling
If you have considered converting your business’s telephone voice over IP (VoIP), there are several reasons it makes sense to do so sooner than later. VoIP offers several benefits not available with traditional landlines or analog phone lines. Another factor to consider is that, as of August 2022, telephone providers can deactivate and raise prices on plain old telephone service (POTS).
Keep reading to understand what the sunset of POTS landline networks means and why this could be the time to switch to a business VoIP system.
POTS Lines: Why it’s Time to Find a Replacement
WHY ARE POTS LINE GOING AWAY?
Are you wondering, “What is a POTS line?”
Check out this post from our partner Ooma explaining everything you need to know.
If you think the sunsetting of landline phone networks has Alexander Graham Bell spinning in his grave, a POTS replacement could be long overdue. The first POTS networks were introduced in the late 19th century. For over a hundred years, POTS phone systems remained the primary means of telecommunication. No doubt, POTS lines were a revolutionary technology that allowed people to make long-distance calls without sending a telegram or relying on operators.
As telephone technology advanced, POTS lines evolved to support features such as call waiting, caller ID, and voicemail. As we moved into the digital age, more and more businesses and consumers ditched landline phones altogether as cell phones and internet-based communication tools became available to the general public.
This shift has had a profound impact on the telecommunications industry.
BYE, BYE LANDLINE
Even for those still clutching their landlines and answering machines, POTS lines going away is a fact. Soon, analog phones will be entirely replaced by digital phone systems and cloud VoIP phone systems. Telecommunications companies are no longer required to maintain POTS systems. And, for many, landline revenues don’t support reinvestment. Instead, they now focus on developing and deploying new technologies, like 5G networks and internet-based communication tools.
Keep reading to learn what you need to know about replacing your landline telephone with a voice-over IP number.
VoIP for Business: Why It Makes Sense
WHAT IS VOIP AND HOW DOES VOIP CALLING WORK?
VoIP entered the marketplace in the 90s as a tiny player with a big idea. Thirty years later, VoIP is a dominant system with a significant footprint. Many more businesses are adopting this technology for its ease of use and management, price point, and scalability.
Using your internet connection and internal network, VoIP phone systems pass all your voice traffic through the internet to make calls. To the end user, VoIP calling functions in the exact same way as POTS analog phone lines.
5 REASONS TO CONSIDER CONVERTING TO VoIP FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
While we work with all sizes and types of businesses to implement VoIP solutions, the fastest-growing sector of business VoIP phone systems are small businesses. Large and enterprise businesses have relied on VoIP for decades because it is easily scalable and provides advanced telecommunication features. In the past, VoIP phone systems for small businesses weren’t practical, but that isn’t the case today. Transitioning to a VoIP phone system is probably more realistic than you think.
Here are a few VoIP benefits you may not have considered:
VoIP vs. POTS
1. It’s more affordable.
In most cases, implementing VoIP systems is more economical than traditional phone systems. In fact, pricing is a major reason IT Insights’ clients switch to a VoIP system. Pricing varies based on the needed solution and specific case. The main driver of VoIP phone system cost is the number of users, calling platform features, and network support enhancements (if needed). Most, if not all, VoIP providers will provide unlimited local and long-distance calls. In the past three years, we have not had a VoIP vs. POTS quote that wasn’t an improvement for the client. You might be surprised that hardware often isn’t a significant cost pain point.
Will my old phones work with VoIP calling?
That depends. Sometimes, phone systems are universal and do not need replacement. In other cases, your VoIP provider may require specific phones. However, digital phone systems are still more cost-effective than traditional methods, even with the additional cost of phone purchases or rentals.
2. VoIP is user-friendly and scalable.
Not all phone systems are created equal. The average user only cares if they can pick up the phone and speak to another person.
- Can they make and receive calls?
- Is it easy to check voicemail?
- How about transferring? Is it a hassle or easy and intuitive?
But businesses and managers might also want more features.
- Want to change which phone rings when you dial an extension?
- Need to add seats when user counts change?
- Can you easily forward calls to an after-hours extension or cellphone?
You can do all this and more with VoIP calling. Plus, customer support is significantly better and can be self-managed. You can make changes through the platform’s management portal (without being an IT expert) or call support and have them fix it for free!
Scalability and accessibility are huge factors for many businesses. As mentioned, adding and removing seats by yourself or using customer support is very easy. You can also set up phone trees, out-of-office and holiday closure automations, and manage voicemail through desktop and mobile applications. You can even seamlessly transition calls to your mobile device to take calls on the way to meetings or when working remotely and get notified via email when you have a new message. Anything you associate with phones, VoIP can do. Plus more, all while driving down costs, reducing infrastructure footprint, and providing a universal business solution.
3. Implementing a virtual phone system for small businesses is easy.
Many business owners are reluctant to embrace VoIP because they are concerned about the work involved with system set-up and installation. In reality, setting up a VoIP system is rather straightforward. You only need a modem, a router, and a VoIP provider. Tech-savvy business owners might even be able to manage the VoIP transition themselves.
However, working with an IT service provider, like IT Insights, to manage the analog to digital switch has some benefits. First, an IT service provider has the expertise to help you evaluate options, determine opportunities for cost savings, and implement upgrades if needed. Many small business owners prefer to focus on growing and maintaining their core business. Working with IT pros takes this off your plate.
Determining hardware and network compatibility is the most common hurdle in transitioning to VOIP. You’ll need to understand if you can reuse your existing handsets and if your internet is fast enough to handle the additional voice-call traffic. VoIP systems require significant bandwidth. A minimum speed of 300 down is recommended – fiber or coax connections are ok.
You’ll also want to install desktop and mobile applications and train your staff on the system to benefit most from your new VoIP phone system. Both are relatively easy, especially if you work with work with an MSP to manage your IT needs.
4. Various VoIP telephone software options are available to suit your business needs.
Regardless of your industry or business needs, there is a VoIP platform to fit. VoIP systems can be customized and built to any compliance requirements. This is especially important for financial services, healthcare, and other regulated industries. IT Insights recommends our partner, Ooma, for VoIP business phone systems because of their flexibility and all-in-one system options. However, we can and do support any VoIP platform. Not all VoIP software is created equal. Typically, the sticking points are back-end management and system support. We’ll help you evaluate all options to implement the right solution.
5. VoIP platforms have backup options for power and internet outages.
The most common questions regarding VoIP are:
- Does it work during power outages?
- What happens if my internet goes down?
Many people mistakenly think their VoIP phone system will not function during a power or internet outage. But this isn’t true. A local network or power outage will impact your onsite systems, no doubt. But VoIP providers have contingency services that protect your phone system. Your system can be set up to direct calls to voicemail or to have failover numbers that ring to a cell phone (or another number). It is also recommended to have a failover internet service in place as a standard business practice. Customers implementing VoIP best practices report none to minimal system failures and even less downtime.
Small Business VoIP Phone Systems: Common Roadblocks and Questions
How is VoIP calling different from traditional POTS phone systems?
It’s not! With an internet-based phone system, users experience all the same functionality and more.
What is a VoIP number?
A VoIP phone number is no different from a landline phone number, except that these calls connect via the internet instead of via POTS systems (telephone poles and lines).
How much does a VoIP phone system cost?
A lot less than you might think! The actual cost of a VOIP phone system varies depending on the provider, features, user seats, and business needs. In almost all cases, VoIP phone systems are less expensive than traditional landline phones.
Can I use my existing telecommunications systems?
It depends. You may be able to use your current phones and internet network, or you may need to upgrade. We’ll help you evaluate all the options to find the lowest-cost, easiest-to-implement solution that meets your needs.
How to Transition Your Business to VoIP
LET’S GET STARTED
Regardless of your reasons for converting your analog phone system to a voice-over-IP phone system, we can’t stress enough that working with the right team and tools is crucial. At IT Insights of Rochester, we work with VoIP systems daily and primarily use Ooma phone systems. But we can support any existing VoIP platform, help you evaluate other VoIP platforms, and determine hardware, software, and network needs to get the most out of transitioning your landline phone to VoIP.
Contact IT Insights today to get started! We’re happy to answer any questions and are fully equipped to support your business by implementing a virtual phone system, and many more services!
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