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Voip - Voice Over IP and Business: Is It For You?

by: Andrew Kelly
VoIP allows users to make phone calls using their high-speed Internet connection. This
translates into free, or very low cost long-distance calling. Because VoIP uses the power of
the Internet, traditional phone companies are left completely out of the loop. Of course, now
that the idea of VoIP is catching on more and more, traditional phone companies are developing
and offering their own VoIP options so as not to be left out. From the consumer's point of
view, this competition is keeping options open and pricing low. For businesses, this is
particularly good news, since many VoIP providers will want the business of business--this is a
huge market, which providers are aware, of, so the savvy businessperson will take advantage of
this, conduct thorough research, and seek out the best possible option to meet the company's
needs.

What are the Pros to Using VoIP?

Cost is a number one factor. If your business does a high volume of long distance calling, this
can be an extremely affordable way to go. Another positive is that the future of long distance
calling is VoIP. As time passes, more and more options will be available and the market will
become even more competitive. It is also easy to use, although a business set-up will be more
complicated than a home set-up.

What are the Cons?

One disadvantage that many users report is that there tends to be an "echo" when using VoIP.
How much of a disadvantage this is may depend on the user. There can also be a slight lag at
the beginning of the conversation.

Another potential disadvantage is that the technology is fairly new. As VoIP becomes standard,
improvements will take place. In the meantime, it is up to each business to determine if this
is a way to go.

Also, because VoIP operates through your Internet connection, should you lose Internet service
for whatever reason or power, you will not have phone access until the service or power is
restored.

Is VoIP Right for my Business?

As with any business decision, you should examine your needs and available services before
making a purchasing decision. VoIP may produce substantial savings, but it could also produce
substantial headaches. Whether or not your company can navigate potential glitches with minimal
interruption is something you need to determine. Many traditional service providers offer
competitive pricing, and the security of the existing structure may not be worth the potential
problems with VoIP. It is also necessary to price and compare the technical requirements; will
your existing structure support VoIP, or will the investment in technology offset the potential
savings?

VoIP Business Options

On the bright side, because VoIP is a growing service, many companies provide business
solutions and the offers and pricing are competitive. One thing to consider as you compare
options is contract terms. Because the technology is expanding, it is wise to avoid any long-
term contract, as a better option may come along in the meantime. A variety of companies offer
business solutions. The following list is just a few:

•Sprint: http://www.sprint.com/business/products/categories/voip.jsp

•Lingo: http://www.lingo.com/voip/business/unlimited_internet_phone_ service.jsp

•Quest: http://www.qwest.com/largebusiness/products/voip/

•Pipex: http://www.pipex.net/products/voip/

How to Get Set Up for VoIP The technology required will depend on the service you choose. There
are three types of VoIP methods.

•ATA stands for analog telephone adaptor. It connects to your computer or Internet
connection and uses regular phone.

•IP phones are special phones that look like traditional phones, but they connect with
an Ethernet connector.

•Computer-to-computer is an easy way to use VoIP and long distance calls are free; you
only pay for the software. While this method can work in a business setting, it may not be the
best solution, even though it is very cost effective.

VoIP requires a high-speed Internet connection, and for business purposes, your set-up needs to
be able to handle the additional use that VoIP incurs. Essentially, there is no "one size fits
all" set-up guide for business VoIP options. The service you choose and your company's
individual requirements will determine what you will need.

Andrew Kelly is a Technology Consultant who helps keep businesses at the leading edge of technology.
For more great tips and resources on everything voIP visit:
http://www.voipvoiceoveripcenter.com


About the author:
Andrew Kelly-- has been a leading Comminications & IT Consultant for 15 years, Andrew's current key roles are keeping Medical & Dental industries at the cutting edge of Technology and two steps ahead of the rest.