VoIP systems are rapidly becoming the norm, both in business and home settings, but most people know little about them. If asked about VoIP, they will probably mention Skype; while this is an example of VoIP, it is far from the only option.
If you are looking to take advantage of the cost savings and extra features of VoIP systems, you need to know what your options are. Here is a brief rundown of the three core VoIP systems: software VoIP, self-hosted hardware VoIP, and hosted VoIP services.
For many home users and small businesses, software VoIP such as Skype can be good options. As all VoIP systems use the internet infrastructure to transfer the voice data, software VoIP uses the existing infrastructure of a user’s computer – along with a headset or connected handset – to connect to a VoIP network and provide the user with a phone number and telephony capabilities that are indistinguishable from using a telephone.
Software VoIP solutions can also be used as part of larger solutions, enabling remote workers to log in to the phone systems from any device in any location and operate as though they were in office.
For many larger enterprises that want complete control and have existing and capable IT staff, self-hosted hardware VoIP solutions can be a worthwhile investment.
These systems will involve buying and managing a PBX system to operate the internal telephones, along with an external supplier or wholesale termination provider such as www.idtexpress.com.
Self-hosted systems are inexpensive to run, as costs are effectively rolled into IT budgets. Once the system is operating, it is fairly ‘hands off’, allowing an incredible degree of flexibility to tailor the system exactly to the business’s needs.
For any sized business, but especially those that lack dedicated IT staff, a hosted VoIP option may be more desirable than a self-hosted solution.
Hosted VoIP takes all the upfront hardware costs and management needs out of the equation, using a cloud-based or other off-site service to manage numbers and provide the service.
While hosted VoIP options will save on upfront costs, they will be much more expensive to run over time due to being a paid service; however, a hosted service would be less expensive than hiring IT staff just to manage a VoIP system.