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10 common misconceptions of VoIP

By sending voice data over Internet connections, VoIP is able to cut costs. As such, users can gain quite a bit from utilising the technology, but many have yet to adopt the technology. Why, asks REUBEN YONATAN, founder and communications analyst at GetVoIP.

VoIP offers users a more advanced and more cost efficient mode of telephony. By sending voice data over users’ Internet connections, VoIP is able to expand upon function and feature while cutting costs substantially. As such, users stand to gain quite a bit from utilizing the technology: however, despite VoIP’s ability, and its continued popularity, many have yet to adopt the technology still. Why? Since the tech has emerged, it has been littered with countless myths, misconceptions, exaggeration, and hyperbole. While some of these ideas stem from fact, most are far from accurate. That being said, here are 10 of the most common misconceptions currently surrounding VoIP.

Myth 1: Sound Quality is Poor Fact: Sound quality can be affected by bandwidth and the device being used: therefore, users need to be sure that they have enough bandwidth to support traffic on their phone system, and that they are using a quality device. Past this, however, most VoIP providers offer a number of different protocols and codecs to ensure that users are fit with HD sound quality. For example, providers can allow users to select from Compressed Toll Quality (G.729), Toll Quality (G.711), and HD Voice (G.722) codecs. In doing so, users can choose a codec that matches how they plan to utilize their VoIP system.

Myth 2: VoIP Only Benefits those with Large(r) Implementations Fact: Both residential and business VoIP are beneficial regardless of the number of users and usage. There are a number of different services within the VoIP sphere. As such, there are many different providers and plans, which enables all different kinds of users to deploy the service for various different implementations. For example, a small business may benefit from deploying a hosted VoIP solution (a service maintained, managed, and run offsite by a third party provider), whereas a larger business is likely to benefit more from SIP Trunks.

Myth 3: VoIP is Too Difficult to Install & Implement Fact: Unlike traditional phone service, VoIP works by connecting directly into your computer network (router/modem). As such, all users need to do is connect their VoIP phone system with their nearest Internet connection. Past this, most VoIP phones/devices come preconfigured and provisioned for plug and play: therefore, users don’t have to worry about configuration all that much.

Myth 4: Savings are Circumstantial—i.e. savings only occur between 2 similar VoIP systems Fact: VoIP makes calls by sending voice data over the Internet. As such, VoIP providers are able to offer users much lower rates on any and all calls to any and all numbers (i.e. landline, mobile, and overseas). In addition to this, most providers also offer free calling for calls between two users of the same (or similar) service. In some instances, VoIP users have reported saving up to as much as 80% on their monthly bill when compared to traditional services. How? VoIP not only offers lower calling rates, but low line rental and low set-up fees, too. As such, savings are much more encompassing.

Myth 5: Upgrades Are Expensive Fact: One of the most prominent advantages of VoIP is the allowance of flexibility and scalability. As such, users have a variety of service options, which keeps the cost of upgrading low. For example, with a hosted system, users do not own the necessary equipment, a third party provider does. As such, it is the provider’s responsibility to maintain, upgrade, and manage said equipment. For users, this means upgrades are as simple as making a phone call to the provider and placing the request. The only expense that may be incurred is any expansion of one’s plan that an upgrade may bring.

Myth 6: VoIP Is Unreliable Fact: Many VoIP services assign phone numbers to switches in different locations. As such, calls can be routed to their proper destinations even in the event of an (isolated) outage. Still, no provider’s service is 100% immune to downtime. VoIP runs over one’s Internet connection: therefore, the service can be susceptible to power outages, natural disasters, and other factors that span multiple locations. As such, users need to be sure that both their network and their provider’s network are quality and have redundancies in tact. How can one do this? Through speed tests, bandwidth usage, and VoIP providers’ uptime stats. By analyzing your network’s speed and usage of bandwidth you can better determine how well it will regularly operate. Additionally, look for provider’s uptime stats. This will give you a good indication of the amount of unscheduled time a provider’s system may be inoperable.

Myth 7: Switching to VoIP is a Steep Investment Fact: Switching to VoIP may seem expensive at first: however, it typically pays itself off within the first 3 months. Sure, users may need to purchase new handset devices and other new equipment upfront, but installing a new traditional phone line would be nearly triple the price. Additionally, VoIP is subject to lower monthly costs (rates, installation, etc.), which allow for long term cost savings, too.

Myth 8: VoIP is Prone to Weak(er) Security Fact: VoIP technology is far safer than landline phones as they have been far less prone to security leaks than any other ordinary phone. That being said, security, much like reliability, is ultimately determined by the security of one’s own internal network, as well as the security implemented by one’s service provider. As such, users should be sure that they upgrade their systems as often as possible and that their provider utilizes safety settings like encryption. In doing this, safety can be better ensured.

Myth 9: VoIP Systems Need IT Presence and/or Administrators Fact: Users can manage, maintain, and engage their system very easily through web interfaces. Currently, most VoIP providers offer web-access, where users are able to view every aspect of their system ranging everything from features and usage statistics to account information and online bill payment. Additionally, from these interfaces, many users are able to add and drop services or otherwise edit/manage their accounts. This allows users to engage their system easily and directly—eliminating the need for any sort of expert/IT presence.

Myth 10: VoIP Doesn’t Make that Much of a Difference Fact: VoIP allows for a number of integrations, applications, and features/functions that can dramatically improve overall efficiency. For example, most devices/platforms utilize Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), which allow most applications to directly integrate with the system. Past improving actual functionality, VoIP is drastically cheaper than traditional services: therefore, users get extended functionality, flexibility, and scalability AS WELL AS greater cost efficiency‚Äîwhich can really make a big difference.

There are a countless other urban legends floating around the VoIP sphere: however, none of these appear to be all that hindering. The reason? They’re just not true. Users continue to adopt and utilize the telephony mode more and more. As such, there are a number of statistics that indicate VoIP is all but set to completely eliminate traditional forms of communication. Past this, many have begun to utilize VoIP in new and different ways, too. For example, Australian VoIP companies Symbio and APN have teamed up to create VoIP phone booths to provide more remote areas with high quality VoIP solutions. Though these misconceptions might make some people anxious, the truth of VoIP is far more compelling and it shows.

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