VoIP and Cloud Telephony : Don’t Be Afraid !

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VoIP and Cloud Telephony : Don’t Be Afraid !

VoIP and Cloud Telephony: Don’t Be Afraid ! VOIP is the future of business telephony. In fact, it’s very much the present. A new office exchange really has to use VoIP. Some people are afraid of changing over, though. They’re concerned about voice quality, emergency calls, cost of equipment, and so on. Many of these…

VoIP and Cloud Telephony: Don’t Be Afraid !

VOIP is the future of business telephony. In fact, it’s very much the present. A new office exchange really has to use VoIP. Some people are afraid of changing over, though. They’re concerned about voice quality, emergency calls, cost of equipment, and so on. Many of these fears were valid five or ten years ago, but today it’s a mature technology. With modern VoIP on good equipment, you get high-quality calls at a much lower cost than analogue PSTN technology.

Call quality

A VoIP system based on good equipment will give you call quality which is comparable to what you get on a PSTN connection, and sometimes even better. In the technology’s early days, jitter and dropouts were a significant problem, but today’s systems provide clear, low-noise conversations nearly all the time.
The audio bandwidth on the PSTN actually isn’t that great. It drops any frequencies higher than 3.3 kHz. That’s one of the reasons hold music always sounds so dull. Many VoIP systems offer high-definition voice, which captures frequencies up to 7 kHz. The extra audio bandwidth makes voices easier to understand and more like the caller’s in-person voice.

Complexity

Is a VoIP phone too hard to figure out? Not at all. You connect it to the network, then you use it like a regular phone. It may have lots of extra buttons, but those are just for the extra features, which you can learn as you need them. The ability to do call forwarding and conferencing will prove very useful, and it isn’t hard to figure out. There are undoubtedly more options than you’ll ever need, but you only need to learn the ones that will make using the phone simpler for you.

Costs

Moving to VoIP involves some initial costs, but the savings when making calls will quickly make up for them. Most businesses will do best with a cloud contact centre rather than on-premises equipment. Cloud-based VoIP avoids the up-front cost of an on-premises IP PBX, as well as the maintenance issues.
SIP phones allow the easiest use of all available features, but it isn’t necessary to replace all the existing phones immediately. An inexpensive analogue telephone adapter (ATA) will connect one or more analogue phones to the VoIP network.
VoIP calls are much cheaper than ones over the PSTN, especially when calling long distance, so the savings will pile up quickly.

Network and Emergency Issues

Most VoIP problems actually lie in the local network and the Internet connection, not in communication across the Internet. This means that they’re under your control. Having a fast enough Internet connection for the voice bandwidth is important. A router which supports QoS (quality of service) features will keep jitter and other glitches to a minimum.
At one time, the lack of consistently available emergency calling service was a concern. For nearly a decade, though, European telephone services (including VoIP) which connect to the public network are required to support 999 or 112 emergency calling as a standard feature. Service providers are required to provide geolocation information wherever it’s technically feasible. In Ireland, ECAS service requirements mandate that all phone providers provide free access to emergency service numbers.

The telephone world is already digital

The truth is that however you make your phone calls, they’re converted to bits for most of the trip. An analogue signal goes to the local exchange, where it’s converted to a 64 kbps digital stream. This is a snail’s pace compared to Internet speeds. The digitized voice signal isn’t even compressed, which is why you get a meagre 3.2 kHz of audio bandwidth out of it.
The ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) protocol provides video and data services over the PSTN stream, slow as it is, but it has a limited future. BT is phasing out ISDN services by 2025 and encouraging its customers to move to VoIP. It’s likely that other providers, such as Eir, will follow suit before long.
The PSTN has provided reliable service for many years, but it’s built on old technology. The large majority of new office exchanges use VoIP. There’s no reason to fear the change, and there are plenty of reasons to welcome the cost savings and the broader range of features.

 

Sources:

VoIP and 911 service: https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/voip-and-911-service
NENA i3 solution — Stage 3: https://www.nena.org/?page=i3_Stage3
Commission for Communications Regulation: Home Phone /Mobile Section – Emergency Call Answering Service (ECAS) https://www.comreg.ie/consumer-information/home-phone/emergency-call-answering-service/