Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is taking the business world by storm. Instead of relying on traditional landlines for phone service, many companies are switching to Internet-based communications methods.
These systems have advanced features, greater flexibility, and more scalability compared to traditional PBX phone systems.
Research shows that 79% of U.S. businesses are currently using VoIP services. Ready to join the ranks and harness the power of the Internet for your business communications? Here’s how to setup a VoIP phone system.
How to Set Up a VoIP Phone
Installing VoIP services is a little different than traditional PBX phone lines. Since they’re more technical in nature, setting up VoIP phones isn’t quite as simple as plug-and-play. Here are the steps you need to take for a successful VoIP implementation.
1. Select the Right VoIP Provider
The most important part of VoIP setup is choosing the right provider. However, it’s also the part that requires the most time and research.
There are hundreds of VoIP providers to choose from, and they all offer unique products and services. Before you speak to a provider, make a list of everything you need your business phone system to do.
Once you complete your list, search for providers with the VoIP features to fit your needs. This part might require some research.
Here are some of the most popular features to keep in mind:
- Call forwarding
- Business text messaging
- Voicemail to email
- Extension dialing
- Conference calling
- Remote accessibility
- Mobile apps
Don’t just settle on the first vendor you find. Perform thorough research to identify all of the options. With so many providers available, there is bound to be one out there that’s perfect for your needs; you just need to find it.
When you do find a vendor that appears to align with your needs, see if they offer a free trial. Trials are the best way to see what services actually work for your business and, more importantly, which ones don’t.
Researching and vetting vendors take time, which is something that many small businesses don’t have. To save time and effort, it always helps to partner with an IT expert like OnCall Telecom, who can help you identify the perfect solution for your needs.
Interested in learning more? Check out these blogs:
- What are Fixed and Non-Fixed VoIP?
- What’s Your Unified Communications Plan Missing?
- Something for Everyone: How Video Conferencing Breaks the One-Size-Fits-All Mold
2. Test Your Network Strength
With traditional phone service, you never have to wonder if your network can handle the capacity. That’s the phone company’s problem.
VoIP systems are a different story. They rely on an Internet connection, so you need to make sure your network has the bandwidth to handle data-hungry VoIP calls.
Your network bandwidth will determine how many VoIP phone lines you can handle:
- 1 Mbps: 2-10 lines
- 5 Mbps: 11-50 lines
- 10 Mbps: 22-100 lines
- 30 Mbps: 67-500 lines
The fewer lines you have, the better call quality will be. For example, a 5 Mbps Internet connection will handle 50 lines, but the amount of data needed will likely cause skips and delays in the conversations. Aim for the lower end of the spectrum to maintain optimal bandwidth levels to keep calls clear and crisp.
If your network isn’t powerful enough to support the number of phone lines you need, it might be time to upgrade your equipment. More powerful routers or even a secondary Internet connection will help boost your network bandwidth.
3. Purchase Phones and Hardware
Once you have selected a provider and prepared your network, it’s time to go shopping for hardware. Most VoIP systems will work with regular desk phones. All you need is a VoIP adapter to convert the analog signal into digital. However, if you want to take full advantage of VoIP phone service features, you need specialized VoIP phones.
There are plenty of VoIP phone options available, each with unique features and costs. Just like vendor research, it’s a good idea to look at all the available options and compare them to your list of needs.
It might take some time, but choosing the right hardware is the best way to get the most out of your VoIP phone service.
4. Connect Your VoIP Desk Phones
VoIP phones need power and an Internet connection, but there’s more to it than just grabbing a few dusty ethernet cables from your storage closet and plugging them in.
VoIP phones need plenty of bandwidth and a stable connection to operate properly. Use the best cables and equipment to ensure a strong network connection:
- Category 6 Ethernet Cables – Cat6 ethernet cables can run at 250MHz, which is much more than the 100Mhz of standard ethernet cables. They’ll allow more bandwidth to each of your VoIP phones for better and more stable call quality.
- Jitter Buffer – Skips and delays during a VoIP phone call are called jitter. A jitter buffer is a device designed to collect data and release it in a steady stream to ensure smooth calls without interruptions.
- Power over Ethernet (PoE) – These cables simplify the plug-and-play process by combining power and Internet connectivity in a single cord. Plugin one cable and your VoIP phone are ready to work.
Once you have all your cables and devices, plug each VoIP device into your network router, power them up, and you’re ready to start making phone calls.
Connect to the world of VoIP and improve communication with help from OnCall.
5. Configure Your VoIP Service Settings
Now that your systems are connected and powered up, go through the settings menu and configure your system to suit your needs:
- Set up your phone tree
- Assign phone numbers and extensions
- Create voicemail messages
- Set up security configurations
In most cases, your VoIP system will have a setup wizard to walk you through the configuration process. If you need help, our VoIP consulting services will be able to help you and offer professional support.
6. Run Tests of Your System
After the configuration is complete, it’s time to test your system. Make phone calls, test extensions, and play with all the features to make sure everything works. If you find any bugs, it’s much easier to troubleshoot and resolve them while the system is new.
You should also perform a load test to check if your network can handle your VoIP technology at maximum capacity. Get all your employees to make calls at once and take note of call quality and jitter. If the network can handle the volume, you’re ready to get to work!
OnCall Telecom: Your VoIP Technology Experts
Still unsure how to setup VoIP solutions for your business? OnCall Telecom is here to help. We’ve worked with various clients to identify and implement the perfect IT products and services to help their organizations thrive.
Our IT experts will meet with your team to learn about your unique business needs. Then, using our technical expertise, we’ll find and set up the exact VoIP services you’ve been looking for.
Save time and effort on research and planning. Contact us today to find the right VoIP solution for your business.