Many residential and small business users embraced VoIP in the cloud as a way to save money by dropping their analog line in favor of letting their broadband Internet connection do double duty as both a high speed Internet connection and a phone line. A device called an ATA or Analog Telephone Adaptor turns regular telephones into IP telephones so they can work on a computer network. This approach works, but the voice quality is highly variable. That’s because the Internet is mandated to treat all traffic equally. Unfortunately, this means that large data file or video downloads can congest the network and cause telephone calls to distort or drop.
There are a couple of ways to have both telephone and Internet service brought in on the same line. Cable companies do this by giving each service its own channel, along with the TV channels on the cable. TV channels don’t interfere with each other, so there is no reason that voice and data can’t also coexist as long as you keep them separated. To make this work, you need to get your business phone service from the cable company so they can manage the traffic.
Another method for delivering telephone and broadband service on the same line is the SIP Trunk. This is most often a T1 telecom line or Ethernet over Copper service running over twisted pair telco wiring. What makes it a SIP Trunk is Class of Service (CoS) enabled routers at both ends of the line. Voice packets automatically get priority with all other traffic using the remaining bandwidth. SIP Trunks are available where cable doesn’t go. You also get dedicated rather than shared Internet access for bandwidth that doesn’t vary depending on other users.
Larger SIP Trunks can be set up to interconnect multiple business locations for both voice and data traffic. If you have several branch offices, you probably already have private lines connecting them. Why not include your in-house telephone traffic and avoid paying telephone toll charges for calls to remote offices? The SIP Trunk will do that. It can be set up for multiple CoS levels so that voice and video get highest priority, mission critical data is next in line, Internet access is lower still and background activities like remote backup get whatever is leftover.
Some medium and large companies can benefit from SIP session consolidation. The way this works is that all the branch offices are connected via headquarters to the service provider using a large SIP trunk. The company pays for each channel or session that supports one call. Since the sessions are shared among all users in the company, there is no need to have dedicated separate trunks at each location with excess capacity going to waste.
The question that remains is whether you should continue to operate your own in-house PBX switching system or opt for a hosted PBX. The hosted option moves the PBX into the cloud, where it handles all of your internal and outside traffic. This is the ultimate in VoIP as a Service. You typically pay so much per seat per month. You can add more seats when you need them, as the cloud PBX has all the capacity you’ll ever use. No need to add extra capacity now. You simply pay for what you actually use. Some hosted VoIP providers will even include new IP phones in your monthly service fee so you don’t have to make any capital investment at all.
Does VoIP as a Service make sense for your company? Find out by getting competitive pricing and features for SIP Trunking and Hosted PBX telephone services for business.