How to Purchase a VoIP Phone System
The first step in purchasing a VoIP phone system for your business, is to conduct the necessary homework to choose the right system for your needs:
Assess your current equipment
Before you purchase VoIP phones, figure out if you can save some money by using what you already have. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Does your business use a digital phone system? If you already have a digital phone system in place, upgrading to VoIP might be fairly inexpensive if your vendor can work with the phones you already have. Some PBX phones, for example, can be converted to VoIP with software upgrades.
- Does your business have a reliable network? Your current Internet service provider may offer VoIP service for free or at a discounted rate. If your business is already using a LAN or a WAN (which it probably is), that can also reduce initial set-up costs. Smaller businesses especially are encouraged to check the reliability of their network before selecting a VoIP provider. Small, simple networks can still suffer from quality issues that can affect the consistency of VoIP calls in an office.
- Does your Internet connection provide enough bandwidth? Your business's network directly relates to the steady connection of your bandwidth. If your business is considering hosted VoIP service, the amount of bandwidth on download and upload should be taken into account, as well as the connection. Bandwidth must support the capacity for simultaneous calls and individual employee PCs running at the same time.
- Do you know what features you're looking for? Many businesses want to know how to purchase a VoIP phone system because they are easily customized. Make a list of features that you need, such as voice mail and fax transmission, before you talk to vendors. Open-source VoIP software is flexible, powerful, and often free, but you might need proprietary software for features that address specific needs, which can require an expert on staff to customize it to your business.
- Do you have in-house tech support? If your office already has a skilled IT staff, then you may be all set to deploy, maintain, and support a VoIP phone system on your own. If not, it may be wise to consider a hosted VoIP solution that requires only IP phones and a voice gateway connected to a router or modem for in-office use.
Understand its limitations
For businesses that place a lot of long-distance calls or have multiple locations, a VoIP system makes sense because the technology eliminates long-distance charges. Businesses with overseas locations especially stand to benefit when they explore how to purchase a VoIP phone system.
One of the main reasons some businesses have shied away from VoIP technology is that credit card transactions and faxes could only be completed with a conventional phone system. This is rapidly changing as analog signals can be converted to digital data fairly easily. Make sure that your vendor understands your business needs and can sell you the appropriate equipment or come up with a hybrid system for you.
Choose the right setup
A hosted VoIP system uses no actual phone wires, just a broadband Internet connection. A premises-based system links phone lines to a broadband connection. Typically, the main difference between these two options is cost.
- A hosted VoIP system is more likely to charge recurring fees and require a lengthy contract. Since VoIP hardware is not installed on-site, system upgrades may be more difficult and expensive to implement. Businesses that use hosted systems are charged by the call, whereas premises-based systems are charged by the line.
- In contrast, on-premises VoIP will require a larger initial investment that could soon pay for itself. Companies looking for a scalable VoIP system to support rapid growth may prefer an on-premises system to offer greater control over telecommunications.
For a more detailed look at how to purchase a VoIP phone system, see our detailed VoIP Buyer's Guide. Or start comparing dealers with BuyerZone's free VoIP phone systems price quote request service.Ready to Compare VoIP Phone Systems Price Quotes?