Important questions to ask while choosing a VoIP provider for your business

Many businesses are moving towards VoIP enabled phone systems. It's not hard to decide for businesses of all sizes to go for VoIP enabled phone systems. It's just a matter of time. However, the important thing while moving towards VoIP phone system is to decide which VoIP provider to choose. Many businesses struggle to choose right VoIP provider to suite their needs. There are many VoIP offerings by many providers, but filtering through the marketing noise to pick the right one can be tough decision.

Even before that, you may need to consider which of the two paths to VoIP enabled services you should choose: Hosted or Managed. It depends on a number of things that we have discussed below.

Hosted vs Managed VoIP

In case of managed VoIP, your company choose to manage the product (software) itself but chooses to outsource the management of associated hardware to a third party. While in case of hosted VoIP, your product (software) as well as the management of associated hardware is the responsibility of third party. You only pay for the services you use from your hosted service provider.

That means with managed VoIP services, a third-party provider offers all the equipment, operations facilities and technical expertise needed for a company to gain the benefits of an IP-enabled phone system. With hosted VoIP option, you gain access to the latest technologies and features while paying a lower fee per month for each phone that includes the phone features that normally are associated with a PBX system.

Pricing Model

What type of pricing model your prospective VoIP provider provides? The standard model of pay-as-you-go is the right choice. Some VoIP providers offer contacts which is not a good choice in VoIP based system. In pay-as-you-go model, should be able to pay month by month and change your plan whenever you want.

Call quality

How will you assess call quality of your prospective VoIP provider? Discuss and gain insight into how your VoIP provider offers in terms of bandwidth, equipment, and ATA/router. Also discuss how weather conditions and location will affect your overall call quality.

Some worldwide VoIP providers have their dedicated lines for any kind of traffic while other companies use public Internet. There is less chance for disruption with a private lines. Call quality is not as great as with private lines.

Location and regulatory Issues

Location affects in terms of regulatory issues and call latency. For example, European Union requires that data be hosted within Europe due to data protection issues. If switching fabric located at a long geographical distance, it can potentially affect call latency.

Codecs

It is a good question to ask from your prospective VoIP provider that what codec is being used for call traffic? The G711 is better codec than G729 in terms of call quality. However, it requires more bandwidth because it is uncompressed.

Faxing

If you rely heavily on faxing, then you must choose your prospective VoIP provider that suit your faxing needs. It should provide support for appropriate codecs such as T.38/T.30 that allow faxing capabilities. Some providers offer solutions that include faxing via email and email to fax.

Scalability

A good VoIP provider offers many important features such as lower costs, mobility, ease of deployment, flexibility and scalability.

The decision to choose the right VoIP provider among many can still be a tough one. But it gets easier when you consider your own requirements and the list of common key characteristics.