VoIP, or voice over Internet protocol, is a technology that's been growing for decades now. First discovered in the 1990s, VoIP has steadily grown less and less expensive even as it's become stronger and more reliable. In fact VoIP is often able to provide crystal clear phone calls along with extras like caller ID, call forwarding, voice messaging, texting, and dozens of others at little or no extra charge. But is VoIP always the best option a Thompson/Okanagan business has available?
If The Planets Align
Generally speaking if the environments that support VoIP exist then VoIP will be the least expensive telephone service option a business has access to. That means you need to have high quality, high speed Internet access, support for VoIP devices and networks, and you have to have at least one provider in the area who's willing to extend service to you. While these things might sound simple and basic, the reality of a situation is often very different. If you're in a city like Kelowna, for instance, then there should be no problem getting VoIP as there are, for the most part, a good supply of quality high speed Internet services as well as VoIP service providers. More rural areas, such as parts of the south Okanagan valley where there's no quality Internet service to speak of much less a connection robust enough to support clear, crisp phone conversations, simply won't have the same options available to them.
Don't forget about your internal company network it plays a Major role
I have seen my share of businesses who decide to make the move to VoIP and ensure they have adequate bandwidth from their ISP only to be frustrated with inadequate, poor voice quality! Why? Possibly because they did not ensure that their internal local area network was up to the task. Remember if you are deploying VoIP right to the desktop that means you will have an IP telephone on your desk that are connected to the LAN. Suddenly things such as power over Ethernet, layer 2 Vlan switching and router QoS settings are important discussion topics. Point is VoIP will only be as good as the "weakest" part of a data network
Will Low Cost VoIP Eventually Be Available Everywhere?
VoIP costs will vary drastically depending on the level of service you are subscribing to. Business customers can be looking for anything from SIP lines to replace their analog phone lines to a fully hosted VoIP Telephone System. In any event, when compared to traditional phone service, VoIP is always going to be a winner, hands down. The one advantage that traditional phone service has is that it's often the only option available in a given location along with the basic fact that analog phone service is NOT dependent on the Internet in ant way.
That's changing, though.
As high speed Internet spreads from major urban areas and embraces suburbs and even rural areas there are more and more individuals and businesses that are becoming potential VoIP customers every day. The major carriers in the area such as Telus, Shaw and Bell are investing heavily in upgrading and expanding their data networks, not their analog voice networks. Just look at what Telus is currently working on with their Optic TV roll out throughout the Thompson and Okanagan areas. Will the networks eventually become the standard? And will they do so for significantly less money than traditional phone service? That remains to be seen. For more information on whether VoIP is the right telephone service choice for you simply contact us today!