Last month we discussed the 3 main elements of voice over IP (VoIP) in an attempt to alleviate some confusion and to help you understand what VoIP actually is; and in addition, to answer the questions… Is it right for you? and How can you apply it to your business?
We also introduced the concept that there are only 4 types of phone systems available on the market today. That’s not to say that there are only 4 manufacturers. What this means is that out of the hundreds of manufacturers and thousands of dealers, there are really only 4 distinct types of “phone system technologies” that you can deploy at this time. Due to numerous inquiries, this post will focus on the 4 types available on the market today.
Some system types are more beneficial than others, depending on your needs. This is usually based on circumstances including the number of users, organizational landscape, budget, the desire for more advanced applications, or an interest in keeping things simple. And some situations can be served by more than one type of system, so the decision isn’t as simple as choosing one over another solely by reviewing proposals and pricing. The pros and cons of each system need to be discussed in detail to make sure that you understand what you’re getting and that it’s the right fit for your business.
So what are the 4 different types of phone systems? Here’s a brief summary:
1) Hosted VoIP – A Hosted VoIP phone system involves an Internet Telephony Service Provider (ITSP) who hosts your phone system “in the cloud”. VoIP phones are installed in your office and connected to your LAN. Each phone is assigned a unique phone number for inbound and outbound calling. Optional capabilities including auto attendant, customized on-hold, a main phone number that rings to a receptionist, conference calling, etc., can be added. Aside from the phones, the Hosted VoIP service is billed monthly. The cost is based on the number of users, the additional services that you’re using, and the calling or feature plan assigned to each user. System administration is accomplished by logging onto a web portal and entering the proper credentials.
2) Pure VoIP – In a Pure VoIP phone system, the VoIP server is located in your office and patched into your LAN. Users are added to the system w/user licenses. VoIP phones are installed in your office and connected to your LAN, or outside your office through a WAN interface. Standard system features are provided by the VoIP server similar to a traditional or converged phone system. Enhanced features are added w/either additional user or application licenses. System administration is accomplished by logging onto the VoIP server and entering the proper credentials.
3) Converged VoIP – Converged VoIP phone systems are a hybrid between traditional digital systems and Pure VoIP systems. Converged VoIP allows you to deploy single pair digital phones in the office. If VoIP is needed, it can be integrated w/the addition of either hardware, software licenses, or both. VoIP in this example would include VoIP phones (primarily outside of the office), a VoIP network to another office or offices for a coordinated dialing plan, and VoIP / SIP trunking where your phone service is delivered to an IP address on your network w/your broadband internet service as the route.
4) Do It Yourself VoIP – Do It Yourself VoIP can be as simple as phones from Staples or Best Buy for a home-based business, or as complex as writing your own code for an open-source application that you build on a server in your network. In either case, Do It Yourself VoIP is an area that IDeACOM is unable to assist you with.
In closing, IDeACOM has the knowledge and resources to help you identify & prioritize your needs, sort out the best overall fit for your organization, and the ability to offer and deploy Hosted VoIP, Pure VoIP, and Converged VoIP solutions.
Contact us to schedule an evaluation, or to simply learn more about the 4 distinct types of phone system technologies. Make the call and put our experience to work for you!