How to Overcome Challenges in Selecting Business VoIP Providers
January 30, 2013
By Susan J. Campbell
, TMCnet Contributing Editor
There are many benefits associated with the implementation of VoIP in the business environment, and vendors continue to expand their territories as companies move their voice calls to the broadband connection.
While business VoIP providers continue to address obstacles in the deployment of their services, there are still disadvantages that can pop up in the process. Before deploying a solution, the company needs to be prepared for potential challenges and how they can affect the successful operation of their business.
These challenges were addressed in a recent Get VoIP report
and include reliability, emergency calls, call quality and security. While each of these elements is not necessarily a barrier to quality VoIP, they do need to be examined in light of the business environment to identify any potential issues before deployment.
In terms of reliability, business VoIP providers need to review the network and identify any potential computer issues that could hinder the reliability of the call. Likewise, traditional telephone providers are generally maintained backup generators to ensure continuous service
in the event of a power outage. VoIP services rely on power for operation, yet backup power is generally not provided by the vendor. Alternative options can be considered, but backup power sources and the reliability of the network must be part of the conversation.
The availability of emergency call services must also be discussed when selecting the right business VoIP solution. Some providers may offer an e911 (News
) alternative, while others may not offer this kind of support at all. A company like Vonage supports 911 call routing, but only if the user activates the service. The availability of emergency calling options must be discussed with the vendor before a selection is made.
Call quality has long been a part of the conversation when considering VoIP as the primary communication option. Regardless of the features and options available on the platform, call quality must be the priority or the service quickly loses its value. Calls completed over a VoIP line are subject to a number of outside interferences, including bandwidth, equipment, frequencies, weather conditions and more. The decision makers need to understand the potential threats to quality and how these threats are mitigated.
Finally, security must be part of the conversation. Business VoIP providers are working to provide better implementation and management of their security solutions, yet a variety of threats still exist. VoIP is vulnerable to all of the same elements that threaten the optimal experience on the network or PC. Proven security on the network must be demonstrated so that the network, applications, proprietary information or the business are not put at risk.
Once these conversations have taken place, the company is in a better position to select the best solution among potential business VoIP providers. This recent TMCnet piece
highlights what things to look for in the optimal provider, including bandwidth needs, flexibility, scalability and the ownership of the solution. Migrating to VoIP is a big step and one that shouldn’t be completed without the necessary research to support the final decision.
Edited by Ashley Caputo