VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) uses your high-speed Internet connection to make and receive phone calls. Business VoIP is VoIP designed to match business needs.
Business VoIP providers, like Vonage, Jive, or RingCentral, essentially offer the same VoIP solution as a residential VoIP solution, but with more of a business focus. Business VoIP is a way to make calls with the Internet instead using a traditional phone line. Business VoIP is more than just a traditional phone line replacement, though. Frequently business VoIP includes some kind of PBX phone system alongside many advanced VoIP features.
While PBX phone systems and advanced features are often considered add-ons with traditional phone companies, they come standard with business VoIP service. Compare the six different business broadband phone providers with each other and your current phone service provider. There's probably a little bit of a difference.
What is a PBX?
A PBX (public branch exchange) is a specialized computer that is designed to route calls. This includes routing calls between office extensions, and routing incoming and outgoing calls. Any office with multiple extensions and users will need a good PBX system. If you have a legacy PBX system, then you already know how expensive they can be. The machinery for a legacy PBX can run upwards of $10,000 depending on your business size. And when you add in costs for repairs, installation, manual operation, and storage, you could easily add another $24,000 or much more to that bill.
Today, you can choose from a variety of IP PBXs to improve your business phone system. Many business VoIP providers include the cost of a basic hosted PBX in your bill for a basic business VoIP plan. Hosted PBXs are full PBX systems that are managed by your VoIP service provider at their data center. You can also get a virtual PBX which is a full PBX system hosted by cloud technology over the Internet. Both of these PBX solutions are extremely cheap and work just as well as legacy PBXs.
Or, if you feel more comfortable with an actual machine PBX, you can use an IP PBX (digital PBX) software or hardware system that supports VoIP calling. These systems, while sometimes more costly than hosted or virtual systems, are cheaper than legacy systems.
Business VoIP Advanced Features
What are some of these advanced features?
- Desk-to-desk calling
- Conference calling
- Automated attendants
- Voicemail to email
Desk-to-desk calling means that you can connect offices in Chicago and Los Angeles, New York and Bangalore.
Conference calling means you can instantly and conveniently connect with clients and satellite offices through video or phone conferences for lots of participants. Some conference features will support up to 50 users.
An automated attendant gives you an automatic phone directory. This may be a voice or control pad-operated directory. Automated attendants greatly improve customer experience with business phone systems.
Voicemail to email compresses your voicemail into an audio file and emails it to you. You can access this file from any device that supports email so you don't have to dial in to your desktop phone.
Business VoIP Buyer's Guide
Our compare table above allows you to match up different business VoIP providers for quick research. The logos for each of the VoIP providers will take you to their websites.
While we try to do as much research as possible, we recommend you check the VoIP provider's websites for specific quotes and plan details. You can also take a shortcut with our blue quote request box to the top right. We'll do the work for you and get you a quote quickly.
The stars on the table are composite ratings from user reviews of each provider. If you want to read reviews on any individual provider, you can click on "reviews."
If you have a specific plan in mind or want to see a larger selection, try our directory of business VoIP providers. If you need more information on VoIP in general, try some of our articles below.
More Business VoIP Articles
VoIP Speed Test
Before you try to sign up for a business VoIP provider, you should make sure that you have a high-quality high speed Internet connection. You need to have a good high speed Internet connection in order to have high-quality VoIP calls.
Test your connection with our VoIP Speed Test
Business VoIP Telephone Service vs. Traditional Phone Service
You may be nervous about switching your business over to a VoIP system. You may feel more confident in the PSTN (public switched telephone network, the traditional telephone services) because they have age on their side. However, you should know that improvements in VoIP equipment and Internet connectivity have almost completely eliminated many of the problems that accompanied VoIP's infancy. You can now get a VoIP system that performs just as well as any landline service with a traditional telephone company.
Not every business may be a candidate for VoIP, but a growing number are choosing to use a company like Vocalocity for their phone service. With business VoIP, customers enjoy:
- Reduced rates
- Improved employee productivity
- Easy scalability for future growth
However, there are a few things you should know about VoIP before you switch. For example, you should be aware of the issues with 911 service on VoIP lines. 911 operators can't trace 911 calls made on a VoIP line the way they can with a traditional landline number. This means that a 911 operator won't be able to find your physical address through a VoIP line. This could be an issue if for some reason you cannot tell the operator your address. For example, if you were to have a heart attack and you could only manage to dial "911" and nothing else, then emergency responders wouldn't be able to find you. For this reason, it is very important that you remember to program your address on your VoIP line. This way, a physical address will be connected to your phone number. If you move or travel, don't forget to update your address.
You should also be aware of the risk associated with losing power and a VoIP service. If you don't have a back-up source of power, your VoIP phone line won't work. So, you will need to get a back-up generator or a battery for your Internet connection in case of power outage.
|A Comparison of VoIP and Traditional Phone Service|
|Traditional Phone Service||VoIP Phone Service|
|Voice Quality||Excellent||Good to excellent, varies by provider, internet connection, and equipment used. Many business VoIP providers will provide a guaranteed QoS (quality of service) for excellent voice quality.|
|# of Dropped Calls||Rare||Isolated to rare; may occur in periods of high data traffic. Managed by QoS guarantees.|
|Coverage||Worldwide (but with local providers)||Worldwide (no geographic restrictions)|
|Bandwidth usage||Inefficient||Very efficient|
|Long Distance Rates||Extremely expensive; Vary by provider||Most providers do not charge long distance rates|
|Maintenance Costs||High, due to aging infrastructure, high cost of copper, and more costs.||Low, due to relatively light infrastructure requirements.|