How to Setup VoIP (A Step-by-Step Guide)
It is the priority of every business to adopt the most efficient methods of operations. Although changes are challenging in the beginning, sometimes planned transitions can open new doors to success. In particular, the replacement of obsolete technology with advanced communication tools such as VoIP can improve the fate of the business. Want to know how to set up VoIP?
This article dives deep into this subject and provides all everything you need to know. But first, let’s start with the basics.
What is VoIP?
The internet has made things a lot easier and we are now better connected no matter the time and place. Companies are taking advantage of internet services to expand their overseas client base, communicate with their international customers, and even hiring the best talent for their companies from around the world. VoIP is a beneficial technology that uses your internet service. It can boost your sales and customer satisfaction level.
The term VoIP stands for “ Voice over Internet Protocol” or simply making a call through the internet. VoIP is the latest phone technology where you can get a phone service using your internet connection instead of it provided by a local phone company. Why would you do that? Here are reasons why:
- VoIP is cost-effective and comes with a lot more features to improve your business efficiency. Although, you are paying a cost of an internet connection, other than that, making international calls through VoIP is free for users on the same system. You will be amazed to know that on average VoIP costs are around $20 to $30 per user per month and that VoIP savings on average for a business is between 30% and 50%. Not only this, but VoIP costs are expected to decline as much as 5% annually, which means it is going to get cheaper in the future.
- The additional functions such as routing of your incoming calls to your VoIP phone number and receiving a call even outside your office become possible for you. You just need to have an android phone or internet-enabled device. This means that a VoIP phone system is a must for those companies who have their call center agents or team members sitting somewhere around the world.
- Also, VoIP offers more than placing and receiving calls. Current VoIP systems can help you integrate other forms of communication that include but are not limited to instant messaging, video conferencing, teleconferencing, voicemails, and faxes. That’s perhaps the reason that the global VoIP market share is going to hit $55 billion by 2025.
Now you might want to know how this technology can be installed. Setting up VoIP can be easy if you follow the steps mentioned below. Let’s jump into the details.
How to Setup VoIP in 7 Easy Steps
If you have a stable high-quality internet connection, then you can easily set up a VoIP system following these steps:
1. Evaluate Your Need to Set up a VoIP System
Assessing the need for a VoIP system for your business is perhaps the most important step. Just because every business is installing VoIP doesn’t mean you should also make the change. Try to analyze why your business needs a VoIP system. For example:
- You often need to use video conferencing, voice mails, faxes and you have international clients to deal with.
- You have faced a problem where you missed clients’ inquiry calls or communication delays with your supplier leading to frustration and losses. Now you want a phone system where you want you to get a ring on multiple devices and you do not miss any call.
- Some of your team members are remote and they have to communicate with you or your clients anywhere around the world. You want a softphone application for them and you want a business phone number for them.
Once you are done figuring out that VoIP is the best option to handle your current issues or to boost business productivity, it’s good to go for it.
2. Make Sure That You Have a Sound Internet Connection
Before you decide to set up a VoIP, know that it relies all on your internet. If your internet speed is not adequate, it will affect your call quality, leading to call breaks, drops, and delays. To have a pleasant VoIP experience, you need to have a broadband connection that can support your expected call volume.
Evaluate your business internet usage such as web browsing, calls, and videos so that you may know if your existing speed would be sufficient or you need to upgrade.
To test if your current internet speed will support a voice platform, you do not need to be a technology expert or a telephone administrator. You can do an initial internet speed test for free using any VoIP network test. Using this test, you can get an easy-to-read report that can help you assess whether you need an upgrade or not.
3. Know the Number of Users and Functions You Need
It is important to assess how many users or employees will be needing a VoIP phone. Once you have figured this out, you can list down the number of lines you will need to meet your existing needs. You can also add estimated lines if you are expecting employee or client growth in the future.
This will also be helpful to estimate your internet speed requirement. Not only this, you will be able to see how many hardware devices you will need more and how many employees will be using their unique numbers.
Another thing that is essential to figure out are the functions that you expect in your new cloud-based setup. For example, you will need 3 connections for conference rooms and 10 lines to handle customer inquiries. You need unique phone numbers for 25 of your employees along with a mobile App.
This initial work will help you estimate the cost of the infrastructure and your available budget. Once you are done with this, you will get a document to discuss your requirements and budget with your service provider.
4. Choose Between Physical VoIP Phones or a Software-Based VoIP System
A VoIP system is compatible with both hardphones and softphones. You have to decide which one you will need or want. This depends on whether your employees are office-based or remote workers.
This is especially true now that most businesses are operating virtually due to the global pandemic or are trying to minimize the cost of operations. In this case, softphones have become more in demand.
Also, if you are offering 24/7 services to your customer, you probably would go for softphones because these phone support calls can be diverted to several internet-enabled devices, ensuring constant communication with your client.
Softphones have the same functions as hard phones however, they are software supported which is installed on your internet devices such as your computer, tablet, or your phone. It is not a physical device but a software package having a user interface such as a dial pad on the screen.
Now if you are a small business and cannot initially afford to install a lot of physical devices in your office because of budget constraints, it’s good to go for softphones first. Your only cost will be some headsets and installing some applications on your device.
Hard phones are physical devices that look very much like traditional desk phones. You have to determine how many hard phones you will need for your employees in your office. These sets come with a display, physical button, and touchscreen to interact with various phone features.
5. Choose the Right VoIP Service Provider
Once you decide about everything you want in a VoIP system for your business and you know all your needs, budget, and features, you can find a service provider.
There are a few things that you have to keep in mind while you are searching for your VOIP service provider. Several companies are now offering VoIP services for your business at competitive rates however you would like to:
- Choose the one who has the best customer satisfaction record. You can figure this out going through the reviews.
- Choose the one based on the geographic location of your customer.
- Falls within your budget limit.
- Offers the functions that you have already listed down.
6. Make Sure You Can Manage All the Essential Hardware and Softwares
These are some of the hardware and software devices that you need to arrange before you configure for a VoIP set up.
- In case you are going for software, then the only thing you will be needing is to have your internet devices such as a computer, laptop, or tablet. This computer should have a sound card, speaker, earphones, and microphone to run voice communication.
- You will need to have hard phones if you want physical devices too. You can figure out which one suits your needs the most. It typically starts with $100 per unit and so on. These hard phones can easily be plugged into an ethernet port on a router. You do not need a PC or any software to use a hard phone and you can communicate directly with a VoIP server if you are using a hard phone.
- If you are trying to use your regular analog telephones for VoIP calls, then you will need analog telephone adapters (ATAs) which is also called a VoIP adapter or VoIP router. As these adapters have an ethernet port, you can get connected to the local network. The ATA can convert the analog signals of the phone to digital data so it can go over the Internet.
- Digital Telephone Adapters will be needed to make VoIP calls if you have digital Private Branch Exchange (PBX) handsets already installed.
- VoIP Gateways are network hardware that will be required to convert the traditional telephonic connection into a modern VoIP connection using Session Initiation Protocol SIP.
- A VoIP PBX system will be needed to enable you to switch calls between VoIP on local lines. A VoIP PBX system can be hardware-based or can entirely function as a software system.
7. Set up and Configure VoIP Phone Service
Once you have got all the hardware and software tools needed along with an appropriate service provider, you are good for VoIP phone set up and VoIP configuration for services.
All you need to do is connect the phones to your network. Simply plug an ethernet port into the VoIP phone set and the other end of the cable should be connected to your PBX box. In case you are not a technical person, you may contact your service provider, because along with the manuals they may be ready to offer you technical expertise for VoIP installation.
In case you are using VoIP mobile app so that you can use the phone while you are outside your office, you can simply install the app and log in using the login details provided by your service provider.
If you are interested to install a smart communication infrastructure for your business, VoIP phone systems are the best option for you. Whether you are running an online store and selling your products to international buyers or have a website that sells its services, you need a VoIP-based business phone.
Not only will you be able to cut down your business expenses but you will also be able to reap the benefits of portability, security, clear sound quality, and certainly better customer service. Following these easy steps mentioned above, we’re sure that you can easily shift to this amazing technology.
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