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Is VoIP right for your office?

VoIP Phone Systems Buyer's Guide

The excitement around office VoIP phone systems has been constant enough that many businesses think about using one without really understanding the benefits. Contrary to the assumption many potential buyers start with, a VoIP installation is not a guaranteed way to save money.

Additionally, features alone are not reason enough to upgrade right now. However, there are some specific situations where VoIP can make an immediate positive impact on your business.

Multiple locations

If your company has multiple locations - branches, telecommuters, remote sales offices - that are already connected to a company Local Area Network (LAN) or Wide Area Network (WAN), you are a prime candidate for a VoIP system. You can share the full features of your phone system across all your locations.

Even if you have one office in Bristol and one in Glasgow, VoIP allows calls between them via extension dialling, making it a free call. For businesses with hefty monthly long distance charges because of calls between locations, that can be a very attractive reason to upgrade.

Infrastructure savings

An office VoIP phone system can also save money if you're putting in new wiring - you won't have to install separate cabling for your phone system. However, if you are setting up a new data network anyway, installing a parallel voice network at the same time is relatively cheap so the cost savings here might not be as large as you expect.

The best solution for you might be a system that uses existing phone wires within the main office and VoIP for calls between locations. This combination works well if you have relatively new telecom equipment - many PBXs can be IP-enabled with software upgrades and minor hardware additions. Or, if you are ready to replace an ageing PBX, it may be a great time to move to IP PBX.

Sticking with traditional phones internally can save you money. Vendors can also set up systems that use only traditional lines and extensions at first, but support later expansion to VoIP.

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