5 Myths of Hosted Voice and VoIP
Almost everyday, I take a call from a peer, client, vendor, even competitors who have a misunderstanding of hosted voice and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology. Alot of myths exist about this technology, which can cause some anxiety in the mind of the small business owner as they contemplate a new hosted phone solution using VoIP.
Let's take a quick look at 5 myths:
#1. VoIP means my calls are “free”
The old saying “nothing in life is free” is true, even for VoIP. While VoIP technically can be “free” intra-office or intra-location, when calls are placed outside of your company, there is a cost to someone, either your service provider and/or you if you have a pay-per-minute plan that charges for usage.
#2. If my Internet is down, my phones are down
As mentioned in previous blog articles, one of the main benefits of hosted voice is the feature of survivability, whereby you have a pre-configured number for your calls to forward to in the event of an outage. It’s as simple as your calls being auto-forwarded to your cell phone. You never have to miss a call.
#3. Any Internet connection will work
This is technically true, however, it depends. It depends on what Quality of Service (QoS) can be put in place to guarantee voice priority over data and to reserve bandwidth for your voice traffic, while not starving data. A “fat-pipe” like a 100Mb broadband or metro-Ethernet connection may not be appropriate for your voice traffic if you don’t have QoS in place and/or have burstable traffic. Similarly, a slow circuit, such as a T1 might not be able to handle the volume of calls your business requires. This needs to be taken into consideration before implementing a hosted voice solution.
#4. VoIP is not reliable and sounds b-r-o-k-e-n
VoIP has been around for decades and began corporate adoption in the late 1990’s, with Cisco making a major acquisition of Selsius in 1998, soon to become a billion dollar business for Cisco. According to Wikipedia, mass adoption happened in 2004. I mention all of this to demonstrate the maturity of VoIP. The real problem is not with VoIP but with a lack of properly implementing it. The parameters of latency, jitter, and delay need to be measured and controlled.
#5. T1’s and Analog POTS lines are here to stay
I just had to throw this one in. Service providers that have a large install base of T1 and/or analog infrastructure find it difficult to “change” because they have a significant investment in their solution. Some of them are still pushing their “old” technology. The reality is that 10Mb, 50Mb, even 100Mb + broadband, Wi-Max, Fiber, Metro-Ethernet connections are the new standard. Do NOT, let me repeat; do NOT renew your T1 or Analog line contract without first researching your options. You may be suprised to find that you can ditch your old circuits for a much faster connection, leverage the benefits of VoIP and a hosted voice solution, and save money while doing so.