Reasons for switching to VoIP
There are many 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 than 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 business 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 and PSTN being phased out and eventually switched off in 2025, 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 massive project, but not today, yes some planning is needed, but it's far more straightforward 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. Of course, there are a few things to consider, but if you're working with one of the best UK VoIP providers, you shouldn't have any issues.
In terms of planning, we'd suggest that you spend a bit of time researching the various systems available, working out how many users you have, how many handsets you need, and also what features you'll find helpful. You can do this independently or contact a company like us to help guide you through the process.
2) Test your internet connections
A cloud-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 drop out altogether. 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 essential 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 VoIP 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, you’ll likely 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 while we port the numbers.
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 it brings.
Frequently asked questions
How do I change my landline to VoIP?
First, you'll need to sign up to a VoIP service like ours, and then working with your provider, you will "port" your telephone number to the service, assuming you want to keep your number, that is.
How I set up VoIP?
Contact a VoIP provider like ourselves and arrange for a service to be set up. As it's all cloud-based, you'll get access within only a couple of days, and then you can choose whether you'd like to transfer your existing telephone number to the service or not. It's important to note that the process of porting takes your telephone number off of your phone line and will cease that service. If you rely on your phone line for your internet connection, please tell us we can help you avoid being disconnected.
Do I have to switch to VoIP?
Yes and no. If you would like to keep a local telephone number or non-geographic numbers like 0800 and 0845 numbers, you will need to switch to VoIP before 2025 when BT switches off their PSTN and ISDN networks. You can, of course, get new VoIP numbers, too; you don't have to keep your existing ones.
If you're a small business and don't particularly need a landline and are happy to run off mobile phones, perhaps you don't need a phone system. This tends to be ok for small companies such as tradesmen, but as
soon as you get a bit bigger or have an office, you'll want the additional functionality a VoIP service brings.
Should I switch my business service to VoIP?
Yes, you should. You will get cheaper calls, far more functionality and be prepared for the big switch off from BT in 2025. VoIP brings so many additional benefits that it makes good sense to switch as soon as possible.