If you are a small to medium sized business owner and haven’t heard of VoIP phone systems, it is time to start reading and considering this option for your business. VoIP phone systems are a type of phone that turns your internet connection into a phone line.

How many calls can be received at a time?

Depending on the position of the primary user, this is an important question to ask your-self when purchasing your VoIP phone system. An average employee will be fine with 3-5 lines, where as a receptionist, administrator, or an employee of a call center will need 10-15 line appearances.

What is the expected use of the phone system?

If the position of the person is a receptionist then there job description more often than not requires them to be on the phone all day, every day. If this is the case, investing in a higher quality phone system will insure frequent and long term use will not wear the phone out or cause damage. In most senses you get what you pay for, make sure to buy a higher quality phone for those positions that need it.

Does your VoIP phone system need routing capabilities?

In many offices each desk is supplied with one Ethernet. If this is how your office is set up, both the computer and the VoIP phone system will need to share a single Ethernet connection. You will need to keep this in mind when shopping for VoIP phone systems because your phone will need dual RJ45 Ethernet ports. In the case your office is equipped with a voice LAN(separate voice network) then you should use an Ethernet drop run to the computer just for the VoIP phone and will be fine purchasing a phone system has a single RJ45 Ethernet port.

Will you be using a power over Ethernet with this set up?

If you are using or plan on using a Power over Ethernet, you will need a VoIP phone system that supports power over the Ethernet connection. If you are not, or do not plan on using power over Ethernet setup and plan on using AC power, consider the placements or availability of outlets at each work station to power the VoIP phone.

What codec and protocol does your provider support? 

Most VoIP phone systems on the market support SIP and all of the major codec’s such as G.729, and G 711. Although, your VoIP phone system, or provider might only support a H.323, SCCP, or MGCP set up. Remember to ask your provider, and phone system vendor what codec’s they are compatible with and what they support. Do not get stuck with a phone system that is not compatible with a provider and vice a versa.

How much money can you spend?

VoIP phone systems can be anywhere from $50.00-$500.00 a piece. While price is a factor, it shouldn’t be the most important factor. Budgets do limit or set limitations on what we can afford, but the most important thing to remember is to take a good long look at each feature of the VoIP phone system, don’t overspend, and remember to talk with both the phone vendor, and your service provider to ensure compatibility.

VoIP Phone System Benefits

While VoIP solutions are becoming more and more popular, many small to medium sized business owners are not aware of the technology or the benefits. Having a VoIP phone system allows for increased efficiency by allowing you to work remotely, add extensions if your business is growing, save money by paying one bill for your internet and phone, along with many other benefits. Remember to do your research before buying and you will end up with a VoIP phone system that fits your budget, and grows with your business.