Running a small business can be stressful enough, without having to learn the ins and outs of how the latest VoIP phones systems work. We have created a helpful guide to explain what VoIP phones are, how they work and what they can do to unlock the potential of your business.
VoIP is the future of telephone systems and businesses across the UK are unlocking the potential they offer. They are more than just a phone system for keeping your business connected to your customers. A VoIP phone system will help you to achieve replicating all the functionality of a large business without the huge setup costs. Many VoIP providers, including us, can integrate the phone system software into your existing customer relationship management or help desk software.
VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. It is also referred to as a hosted phone system, IP telephony, internet calling, internet phone to name a few. And it replaces traditional business phone systems. Rather than send voice over copper wires to the final destination, VoIP converts spoken voice into data. This data is sent over the internet to the final destination, where is it converted back to audible voice. As all calls are data this is easily saved and can be mined to provide you with insights. Such as when are the busy periods of inbound calls, so you can provide more cover during those peaks.
VoIP phone systems are also easily adaptable. During the Covid-19 pandemic. Our business users were able to change overnight from an office based setup, to staff working from home. And their customers didn't even know the difference.
All VoIP systems use software to setup the configuration. This software is either online accessed via a secure online portal or running on a computer network. Either way, allowing you control of adding and removing users. In fact the functionality VoIP offers goes much further than adding users. We have compiled a list of the top 12 functions our small business customers take advantage of every day.
Pandemic? Trains cancelled? Heavy rain? Whatever the reason you will have the power to start working where ever you are - no one will know!
Have all your calls follow you around. You have the power to receive and make calls on whichever device you are using.
Useful feature for knowing who is calling you before you answer. Standard information includes the telephone number and name. Add more information about the caller or integrate into your business tools. Small business owners use this tool for blocking anonymous or unknown calls.
A core feature of any business telephone system. Place a caller on hold. Transfer the call to another extension or another telephone number.
Used by customer service or sales call centres, call recording is useful for training and reference purposes. You can chose to record all calls, select an individual to record or even turn the function on or off as an when you need it.
We all know this function well. Setup custom greeting for each extension. With VoIP voicemail you can send the recordings to your email so you never miss an important message.
Ideal for small teams working on the same project or looking after customers a customer base. You can unlock the potential of VoIP phone systems. Connect the data into your business tools. Many tools like chat, email, support ticket systems and customer relationship management systems are able to integrate.
Watch in real time, all the calls received and made. Analysing your call analytics will help you to understand your business further. Learn when your business has peak call times so you can lay on extra resource to manage at those times.
Add internal and external participants to calls. Ideal when working as a team with a customer.
Most VoIP providers (including us) can supply local and national telephone numbers. Why not have a telephone number for your website and another for customer services. That way you can divert calls to the relevant department and you will also have insight to how many sales calls are generated from your website.
Customers have questions, you have answers. Display the most frequently asked questions, so everybody benefits.
Save money by incurring no call costs between you and your colleagues, no matter where they are working. You may be at home, your colleagues in the office and your sales representative abroad sealing the next deal. Calls internally are free.
Let’s start by saying that using a VoIP phone system is like using a traditional phone system. If you want handsets, there are a whole range of VoIP handsets to choose from. We like to keep things simple for you and have a couple of options to look at. Making a call on a traditional phone requires your phone company to create a physical path. A traditional phone system transmits your voice from point A to point B, using copper phone lines linked up all over the country.
VoIP transmits calls another way. As you speak, software known as Codecs, digitises your voice. These can be in hardware devices, like handsets and can be software-based, as used in soft phones (more about that later). Either way, the codecs convert and compress your voice into ‘digital packets’. These digital packets are then broadcast in real time using Internet Protocol also known as IP. You may have heard of the term IP address. All computers connected to another computer have their own IP address to identify them. The digital packets can be sent via Local Area Network (LAN) your office network, or via the internet. They are usually transmitted by Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP) or by Secure Real-Time Transport Protocol (SRTP). At this point your digital packets are delivered to their final destination (the person you are talking to at the other end). The digital packets are then decoded and decompressed by the codecs and converted back to audio. They arrive, almost instantly, not enough for the human ear to notice any delay.
The illustration above illustrates the elegant simplicity of the VoIP system. Most of the setup is managed in the 'cloud' by us.
Every industry has jargon. It is great for those in the know, but if you are not in the industry why should you? We are often asked, what is a softphone? Well they are not phones made of jelly! They are also known as Software-based VoIP phones and the term softphone is an abbreviation. Any internet connected device, such as a laptop, tablet or desktop computer that has a microphone and speakers can be a softphone. Many businesses using a voip system, don't have traditional handsets. They prefer to use headsets plugged into desktop computers, running the VoIP system software.
The illustration above maps out a typical VoIP business phone system. VoIP handsets, soft phones on existing computers and smart phones, link up to our hosted phone platform, which in turn then transmits the calls via the internet to the final destination.
With VoIP business phone system
your small business will reduce the cost of making calls, nationally, internationally and to mobiles.
There is no need for expensive infrastructure installation and maintenance, which will put a smile on anyones face.
With no fixed infrastructure, VoIP phone systems are agile, allowing your business to easily & quickly adapt to changing working environments. All you need for your phone to work is an internet connection, so working from home, the beach, or the boardroom - no problem!
VoIP business phones systems grow as your business grows, without the need to install more expensive phones lines. Extra capacity and users can be added in minutes using our user-friendly web based software.
No expensive engineers required!
We are always here if you need help.
Cloud Communications describes the use of using the internet (the cloud) to connect users via voice, email, chat and video. It basically describes internet-based communication. Cloud communications was born from VoIP.
Not to be mistaken with internet speed, bandwidth is the volume of data that can be carried from one point to another in a certain amount of time. It is calculated in megabits per second (Mbps).
SIP Trunks are not to be confused with VoIP. SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) is the industry standard method adopted to enable VoIP calls between devices.
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. It is the technology that allows you to send voice calls over via an internet connection.
Internet Protocol provides an address for any connected device. There are 4 types of IP addresses. Private, public, dynamic and static. VoIP Business phone systems, use IP addresses to send data from the right caller to the right recipient.
Codec is the blending of the two words coder & decoder.
A codec encodes and decodes a digital data stream or data signal. If is usually a device or a piece of computer software. The codec will encode the data stream ready for transmission. The decoder element reverses the encoding for playback.
In regards to hosted phone systems, latency is the time taken for the digital data packet to reach its destination. Higher delay times will cause issues for VoIP, as voice delay can be noticed with a latency that is higher than 150 milliseconds. Even higher than that and conversations and video calls will become untenable.
Short for 'Digital Subscriber Line'. DSL refers to traditional telephone systems that allow broadband data to be sent over existing copper telephone lines. Without disrupting analog telephone services on the telephone lines.
Softphones describe devices that are being used as a phone. Any device connected to the internet, such as a computer or tablet. Can be setup to make and receive voice and video calls (if there is a camera), utilising VoIP software.
Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) is the telephone equipment located at your office. Will include telephone handsets and DSL Routers as examples.
Auto-attendant is the use of a voice menu system. A caller will be offered a selection of options to choose from that then transfers them through to an extension. Can be used with or to replace a receptionist or telephone operator.
IVR takes the Auto-attendant facility one step further. Interactive Voice Response (IVR), connects callers with a pre-recorded voice to interact with the caller through voice commands and DTMF tones via the keypad.
This is the easiest part of our guide to VoIP phone system. You will be pleased to hear that switching is a simple process. Speak to one of our team and we will help you to make the relevant decisions on a VoIP setup. We can even help you convert an existing traditional PBX phone system. Once we have helped you make this decision, we will help you to chose VoIP handsets and setup softphones using existing computers.
Don’t worry we will guide you through the process!
Then leave it up to us to do the rest.
When we are ready we will send you the hardware and provide over the phone training on setting up the software. When you are ready, we then switch over to your new VoIP phone system.
No. With a VoIP business phone system, you will be able to keep your existing telephone number/s. In fact a big bonus to a VoIP phone system, is that wherever you are, when making and receiving calls you keep the same phone number.
The speed of your broadband is important, but so is the bandwidth. As long as you have a superfast broadband connection, in nearly all cases it will be good enough to run a VoIP phone system. Obviously the higher the bandwidth and the lower latency the better the quality of the calls.
Sadly, no straightforward answer to that, depends on the handsets you have. In theory it might be possible and we would be happy to investigate if this is possible with your handsets.
No, but we can certainly look to create a tailored package to manage both your broadband and VoIP phone system at a competitive rate. Please take a look at our Business Broadband page for further information on this service.
No, as VoIP phone systems rely on an internet connection, when there is a power outage, your router will not function. If there is a power outage, the reality is that no other office based work will be able to continue. Power outages in the UK are rare so disruption is minimal.
A sustained rate of 80Kbps for one VoIP line. We use the rule of 80Kbps times number of VoIP lines equals the required sustained broadband connection speed. You can test your broadband speed (response time, download speed and upload speed) on the ‘Which’ website - Broadband Test
Yes! We would love to have the opportunity to discuss your requirements. Please call us on 0330 380 9090. Just mention you found this page on our website to the person that answers. Or you can request a call back using the form at the bottom of this page.
Westbrook Communications has over 20 years experience in providing businesses and organisations across the UK with state of the art managed IT systems and IT support.
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Tel: 0330 380 9090
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