Business VoIP: Configuring Your Business Phone System

Before you configure your business Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone system, you first need to understand how the technology works.

With every VoIP-based phone system, the basic concept remains the same. You replace traditional phone lines with high-speed Internet connections. Voice signals become data packets so they can transmit over a data network.

Here’s a more detailed overview of the business VoIP phone call process:

  • Traditional phone systems create analog voice signals. In the traditional model, the system transmits these analog signals over a circuit-switched network called the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).
  • Conversely, business VoIP systems convert the analog voice signals to digital data packets. Once converted to data, these packets travel over an IP network just like any other data. The IP network can be the public Internet or a private network developed and maintained by a service provider.
  • Service providers regularly monitor and manage their private networks. They know how to prioritize voice or other data, so you avoid issues like latency (delay in a call) and packet loss (missing words from a conversation). Typically, a private network offers the best quality of service. It also provides a higher level of security and reliability. For these reasons, most business VoIP solutions transmit calls mostly over private networks.
  • After a VoIP-based system converts an analog voice signal to data, it transmits it over the IP network to its destination. The system then converts the data packets back to analog signals.
  • Because the process happens quickly, most users don’t know whether a phone call transmits over the traditional PSTN or an IP network. Numerous private networks exist today, and phone calls may travel over more than one network before reaching their destinations.
  • Phone calls can be conducted using IP phones, traditional handsets, mobile phones, or computers. You can use any combination of these devices to make and receive business VoIP calls. However, the convert-transmit-convert process always remains the same regardless of how many networks the call traverses or the type of device used.

Why Transmit Calls over an IP Network?

Cost is a major factor in deciding to use an IP network instead of the PSTN. With business VoIP, you maintain only one network instead of two. Since voice becomes data, you can eliminate your voice network and simply use your data network for your phone communications.

With one data network, you improve bandwidth efficiency. You won’t be paying for unused capacity on either network.

Also, calls between your different office locations become local. If you’re calling your sales office in Arizona from your headquarters in Maine, you can avoid long distance charges. Your phone calls travel over your data network.

Working with an established VoIP provider helps businesses get the most from their VoIP solutions:

  • You experience little to no downtime during installation of your business VoIP service.
  • A full-service provider can evaluate your existing Internet connection for VoIP. You need enough bandwidth to handle your anticipated call volume. If it falls short, you may experience poor call quality. Your provider can establish the right high-speed connectivity to deliver the best level of phone service.
  • You provider will recommend and supply the IP phone equipment needed to use business VoIP service. Most phones work with a minimal amount of effort and configuration. In fact, many are plug and play devices. You plug them into an Ethernet connection on your Local Area Network (LAN), and you’re ready to make calls.
  • In most cases, your service provider delivers system and phone upgrades automatically. You won’t have to reconfigure your system for updates. You’ll get new features and functionality when available.
  • You can integrate your business VoIP with other applications, including Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Integrating with CRM software enhances customer communication. Customer records become automatically available before and during a phone call.
  • You can easily scale your business VoIP solution. If you need to add employees, you configure new phone lines with a few clicks online. Matching your phone service to changing business requirements becomes straightforward and affordable.
  • Your service provider handles all network maintenance, repairs, and security issues. Along with a high-performance network, you get much-needed peace-of-mind.

Whether you manage a small company or large organization, dependable, affordable phone service is essential to your success. Like any critical business component, establishing VoIP communications requires careful planning. Working with an experienced provider ensures you match the right solution to your requirements and simplifies the installation process.

By providing more streamlined, intelligent and cost-efficient solutions, FairPoint Communications helps businesses of any size get the most from their voice applications. FairPoint offers two voice options: Hosted PBX and SIP Trunking. A cloud-based voice service, FairPoint’s Hosted PBX eliminates capital investments in telecommunications equipment. SIP Trunking leverages an organization’s existing on-premise equipment by connecting it to FairPoint’s advanced Softswitch network.

For more information on FairPoint Hosted PBX or SIP Trunking solutions, contact us or download our latest whitepaper titled “The Complete Guide to Hosted VoIP.”

Bob is the Product Manager responsible for Hosted PBX at FairPoint Communications, a leading provider of advanced communications technology in northern New England and 14 other states across the U.S.