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What you need to know about switching to a VoIP service in Elk Grove
VoIP may have started essentially as a gimmick for consumers, but it’s now become a must-have tool for businesses. It’s particularly valuable to SMBs as it both reduces calling costs and gives them affordable access to what used to be enterprise-grade features. Here’s what you need to know about switching to a VoIP service in Elk Grove.
You need to make sure you have enough bandwidth
If there’s one golden rule about VoIP implementation, this is it. Assuming you only want to implement VoIP for audio, then you’re looking at a minimum of 0.1Mbps per line. If you’re looking at video then the absolute floor is 0.3Mbps per line and for HD video it’s 1.2Mbps per line. If you’re on an asynchronous connection, e.g. a DSL connection, then you need to look at the upstream and downstream speeds to make sure that they are both fast enough.
What’s more, you should be aiming to meet these standards without exceeding 80% of your available bandwidth, regardless of what else is happening on your network. There should be minimal latency, jitter, or packet loss. Ideally, you’re looking to keep latency and jitter below 20ms and packet loss below 1%. You can go somewhat above this and still have tolerable call quality, at least as long as the other party has a decent connection. There will, however, come a point when call quality becomes unacceptable.
You need to be able to handle the heaviest peaks in usage. This means that you need to know your “worst-case” scenario. In other words, when do you have your maximum number of users online (remember to think of the whole year, not just that point in time) and what is the maximum volume of network traffic as a whole, i.e. including everything else which is being used? When thinking of this second point, remember to account for the security checks which will be needed on the additional traffic.
Avoid over-complicating your project and increasing the demands on your budget
For many SMBs, the most pragmatic approach to implementing VoIP is to start by implementing a like-for-like replacement of the existing telephone system. This keeps the project scope manageable and this makes for the fastest implementations at the lowest cost. Once you have the initial system up and running comfortably, you can decide whether or not you want to expand it at all. Some companies may be perfectly happy with a budget-friendly calling system. If you do want to expand, you can put some of your initial cost-savings towards your budget.
Adopting this approach can also help to stop you from being tempted to implement features that look good but are not really necessary, at least not initially. The obvious example of this is video calling. For most SMBs, this is rarely, if ever, essential. Some people love it since it can lend a human element to calls. Some people hate it because they find it intrusive. Regardless of your opinion, the fact of the matter is that it gobbles bandwidth and hence massively increases the demands on your network hardware. This can generate significant extra costs.
Ideally, you’ll want to create a budget that allows some leeway for unexpected expenses. For example, you may plan to use VoIP via softphones but then discover that these do not meet your needs and that you need to buy VoIP handsets instead.
Choose a VoIP service partner based on quality and security first (and price second)
In the consumer world, VoIP services generally compete on price. This makes sense when you consider that consumers generally use VoIP to cut down on the cost of long-distance calls to family and friends. They are therefore often quite happy to put up with poor call quality in exchange for a service that is super-cheap or even free.
In the business world, however, call quality matters a lot. This isn’t just about your public image (although that certainly matters). It’s about making sure that people can focus on their work rather than having to battle call-quality issues. It’s also about making sure that people can convey important information accurately (and effortlessly).
Likewise, security probably matters more in the business world than in the consumer one. Businesses carry more data, including more sensitive data. They also have their systems used by more people. Both of these realities expose them to a higher level of risk. They, therefore, need to mitigate this risk by a combination of robust monitoring, solid processes, and effective staff training.
If you’d like to speak to a reputable and experienced VoIP service partner in Elk Grove, please click here now to contact Salient IT.