VoIP phone systems for small businesses – everything you need to know.
Small businesses are 58% more likely to have a phone system as their primary communication tool, making it even more important to have a phone system which is reliable, modern, and cost-effective.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems are the perfect solution for small businesses. It comes with a whole host of features and benefits that help small businesses to improve productivity and cut down on their phone bills.
Boxx have helped Milton Keynes businesses of all sizes make the switch to a VoIP phone system and are experts in tailoring solutions to meet the needs of your business.
We wanted to write this article to specifically showcase all you need to know about VoIP phone systems and why they work for small businesses.
What is VoIP?
“VoIP” stands for “voice over internet protocol” – which pretty much translates as “phone calls over the internet”. It’s worth comparing with the traditional way of making calls.
Prior to VoIP, calls were made using phone lines. What that means is either PSTN (copper wires) or ISDN (a digital upgrade dating to the 1980s). But there’s a problem with these: they’re being switched off.
By 2025, BT plans to have decommissioned the UK’s entire infrastructure of PSTN and ISDN lines. They served their purpose, but they’re outdated.
The upside is that instead of investing in maintaining an old creaking network of copper wires, money is being spent on upgrading and maintaining fibre networks. So in place of ISDN, we’ll have a beefed-up fibre broadband capacity – which will support a new era of internet-based phones (and just about everything else!).
This brings us back to VoIP. Among a host of other advantages, it’s futureproof – unlike PSTN and ISDN.
How do you actually get VoIP?
There are two basic ways of delivering VoIP calls through a phone system: “hosted” and “on-premise”. Let’s unpack these.
Hosted VoIP basically means a cloud phone system. We call it “hosted” because it’s hosted in the cloud – in other words, on servers in data centres away from your site.
Businesses are increasingly reliant on cloud services for all sorts of purposes, including communication. It’s no wonder – cloud is highly flexible, and pretty much endlessly scalable. We’re big advocates of cloud for that reason.
With a cloud system, you can just log in and use it from anywhere. You don’t even need deskphones – you can make and take the calls on a laptop or desktop, or on a mobile app. And with us, you get unified communications. That means not just calls, but video and instant messaging in one place.
An on-premise phone system is as the name suggests – it’s hosted as hardware on your site. You can configure it to route calls online through a process called SIP trunking.
Although you can get most of the same features as with a cloud system, on-premise is less flexible. However, if you don’t want to change your phone system yet, SIP trunking is a good stopgap to avoid being caught out by the ISDN/PSTN switch-off.
At Boxx, we offer bespoke solutions to meet the needs of your business, from VoIP handsets, desktop software, mobile apps, or a mixture of all these. We will always recommend the solution that is right for your business.
Benefits of hosted VoIP for small businesses
Upgraded phone system: With a hosted VoIP (AKA cloud) phone system from Boxx, you get a lot more than voice calls. Video and instant messaging are available on the same platform.
Cost savings: If you switch to VoIP, you can often save on call costs. PSTN and ISDN pricing is going up as the demand decreases and the cost to manage old technology goes up.
High call quality: VoIP gives you crystal-clear calls if it’s set up properly and runs over a strong internet connection. To ensure this, you will need a good provider – like Boxx, for example!
Simplicity: With ISDN and PSTN, you have to have phone lines and internet connectivity as two separate things. With VoIP, it’s all delivered over the internet. That means no more phone lines, and one less thing to worry about!
Flexibility: A hosted VoIP system is delivered over the cloud. That means it’s accessible anywhere with an internet connection, including on laptops and mobiles. This makes it an ideal solution for the modern age of hybrid and remote working.
Future-proofing: We’ve mentioned the ISDN/PSTN switch-off. Everyone will have to route calls online when it’s done. That’s what a hosted VoIP system will do!
What internet speed do you need for VoIP?
This is a big question. Without a doubt, all phone calls will be using up bandwidth – but in reality not very much. The key thing is stability, and ensuring that all those other things that depend on your internet connection don’t block up the line
You need enough bandwidth to cope with all the activity you do online, that’s going to have to include calls as well. There are lots of ways to approach this, but we would strongly recommend a provider that knows what they’re doing so they can give priority to calls and ensure that the network is properly configured for quality of services.
At Boxx, we’d look at your business, staff numbers and levels of online activity before tailoring a recommendation. Find out more about recommended internet speeds for small businesses here.
Come to Boxx
Boxx Communications have all the resources you need to make the change to VoIP. We have years of experience working with businesses of all sizes, and we make the entire process simple and stress-free. Our friendly team can talk you through options suitable for you and get you on the path to saving money and modernising your phone systems.
Get in touch with one of the team today.