VoIP, or voice over internet protocol to give it its full name has been around for a long time now, but it’s only in recent years that it’s been adopted en-masse by businesses across the UK. With the improvement of internet connectivity and the introduction of hosted VoIP services, such as our Horizon platform, businesses have been hurrying to take advantage of the numerous advantages it brings.
Reasons for switching to VoIP
There are a lot of reasons why your business may be considering a move to VoIP, especially with the current problems around Covid-19 and more and more of us working from home. A hosted VoIP service gives you much more flexibility in comparison to a traditional digital system or analogue phone. With a VoIP system, you can work from anywhere with an internet connection, it’s that simple. You can take your number with you, and appear to be in the office even if you’re on the other side of the world, or just in your home office. But VoIP isn’t just about portability and flexibility, it also provides a range of other benefits, all of which we cover in our recent article “What is VoIP?”. To summerise that article, you can expect all of the following from a VoIP service:
- Lower call costs
- Increased functionality
- Better call quality
Finally, with ISDN being phased out and eventually switched off in 2025, most businesses need to find an alternative before then.
How to switch to VoIP:
- Plan the switch
- Test your internet connections
- Prepare your network
- Place your order with your provider
- Account activation
- Start using the new service
- Existing numbers are ported
- Initial set up is complete
1) Plan the switch to VoIP
Switching to VoIP used to be a huge project, but not today, yes some planning is needed, but it’s far simpler than it used to be. Previously, you’d need to buy expensive equipment and get it set up in your office, whereas with a cloud PBX that’s already all taken care of for you.
There are a few things to consider of course, but if you’re working with a good VoIP Provider you shouldn’t have any issues and things will be taken care of for you.
2) Test your internet connections
A hosted VoIP system has few requirements, but the most important is that you have a good internet connection. In an ideal world, and if you’re a team of people working out of an office, we’d recommend having a separate internet connection for your phones from your computers. This ensures that any internet browsing people are doing doesn’t impact the quality of your phone calls. If you’re working from home alone, this is rarely needed and you can usually run both your phone and computer over the same connection. As a guide, you need around 100kb download and upload per phone, so if you have 20 phones, you’ll need 2Mb of spare internet capacity. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to check whether your internet connection is good enough though, we’ll be on hand to help with this.
3) Prepare your network
While it’s possible to run VoIP phones over wireless networks, it won’t provide the best experience and we’d always recommend where possible that your IP phones are hardwired back to your router. Wireless networks can be susceptible to interference and dropouts and the last thing you want is for your call quality to be poor or to drop out completely. While many businesses have structured cabling in place, most of us at home rely on wireless, so getting prepared and having some cabling installed is an important step.
4) Place an order with your provider
When you’re ready, you can go ahead and place your order with your chosen provider. If that’s us, then we’ll go on to arrange the details of the installation and let you know how long the various next steps will take. An important part of placing your order is choosing your handsets and other equipment such as conference phones. With our Gamma Horizon service, you get a free handset for every user and you can choose between a desk phone or a cordless one.
5) Account activation
Within 48 hours of placing an order, your VoIP account will be set up and activated by T2K engineers. While this is happening we’ll also ship out your handsets so within only a few days your new VoIP service will be up and running.
6) Start using the new service
Once you’ve received your handsets and connected them to the internet, you’ll be ready to start using the new service. For the time being, you’ll only be able to use the new phone numbers we issue you with while we arrange for your existing numbers to be ported over, as we explain in the next step.
7) Existing numbers are ported
If you’re an established business it’s likely that you’ll want to keep your existing telephone numbers, so the next step is to arrange for them to be “ported” over. This is a straightforward process but can take between 2-4 weeks to happen. During that time we can arrange for your old numbers to be forwarded to the new, so you won’t miss any calls.
8) Initial set up is complete
Once everything is set up, you can manage the service yourself via a user-friendly web portal or have us help you when you need changes made. The VoIP service is now fully set up and you can enjoy all of the benefits that it brings.