February 11th, 2016

By definition, Voice over IP (VoIP) is the delivery of voice communications over the Internet or over your local company network.

A common misconception is that VoIP phone systems always use the internet to place calls. This is true in the case of Hosted VoIP Systems (located in the Cloud); however most VoIP systems are physically located in your office. With these systems you can use the internet to place calls, but you also can choose to use traditional telephone lines.

So when we’re talking about VoIP it is important to understand that there are two different aspects.

  1. The actual business phone system hardware you’re using (VoIP or Digital)
  2. How you are making the actual call and what lines you’re using (Internet/SIP lines vs Traditional Public Telephone Lines.

VoIP Business Phone Systems VS Digital Business Phone Systems (Hardware)

A VoIP phone system typically runs on the same network as your computers do. This system can make calls through either the Internet or traditional telephone lines.

Pros of using a VoIP Business Phone System VS a Digital Business Phone System

  • All of an organization’s voice and data traffic is integrated into one physical network. In enterprise organizations, this can lead to cost savings from only managing one network.
  • Phones are more portable. If you’re moving your phone to a location that only has one network drop, you don’t have to re-cable the location – a user’s computer and a phone can share the same cable.
  • Regardless of what telephone lines your phone system is using (SIP lines or Traditional); users that are remote can make calls through the phone system using VoIP – as long as they have an internet connection.
  • Similarly, smart phone users can make VoIP calls through the phone system provided they are on the cellular data network or on Wi-Fi.
  • A softphone (software than you install on your computer) can also make calls through the phone system using a VoIP connection from anywhere as well as long as they have internet access.

Cons of using a VoIP Business Phone System VS a Digital Business Phone System

  • You’re either going to have to rewire your office to handle the new phones on your network, or your computer and phones are going to have to share a network connection.
  • Your voice and data traffic may have to be virtually separated because your data may slow down your voice traffic and you’ll lose call quality.
  • If you’re connecting branch offices or remote users, both sides of the internet connection speed will dictate your call quality and even if VoIP is possible.
  • If you have a network hardware failure, your computers AND phones may be down.

‘Hybrid’ Business Phone Systems

There are also “Hybrid” phone systems such as the Vertical Wave IP 500/2500 that are VoIP and Digital. With these systems, you get the benefits of both VoIP and Digital Systems.

VoIP/SIP (Internet) lines VS Traditional Public Telephone Lines

When choosing a phone system, be sure to choose a system that supports the ability to use different technologies for placing calls. Large phone carriers such as MTS or Shaw usually offer both traditional public telephone or SIP lines that you can hook up to your phone system (VoIP or Digital). SIP lines use the internet to make the calls and there are a growing number of SIP providers available.

Pros of using VoIP/SIP (Internet) lines VS Traditional Public Telephone Lines

  • SIP lines allow calls to be transmitted over the internet connection, bypassing the local phone company and their charges
  • SIP lines are less expensive for long-distance calls. They may include all long distance calling in the flat monthly price of SIP lines for calls made in the US and Canada. Calls to other countries are still typically 50% less than traditional lines.

Cons of using VoIP/SIP (Internet) lines VS Traditional Telephone Lines

  • Your call quality is directly dependent on the speed of your internet connection and the type of internal network you have. If you don’t have a fast enough internet or if you have low quality equipment, your call quality will decrease. You will most likely need to increase the speed of your current internet connection when using SIP lines.
  • Some SIP providers charge by 6 second intervals – regardless if you’re calling locally or long distance. Depending on your monthly call quantity, this may end up being more than paying a fixed rate with your telephone provider. However some SIP providers do offer fixed rates for local and long distance as well.
  • Some SIP providers cannot transfer your existing phone number to their service and would require you to get a brand new phone number.

Constant C Technology Group provides VoIP and Digital telephone systems for small, medium, and enterprise businesses in Winnipeg. Call us at 204.272.1458 and we’ll make sure we find the right solution for your business.