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18 Replies Latest reply: Jan 8, 2008 5:12 AM by intechspecial RSS

Is VOIP reliable enough for running a small business?

lovemyPYP Newbie
Currently Being Moderated

There is a provider in my area that is offering a great price for VOIP services and I'd love to save money on my phone bill. Most of our interactions with customers is either in-person or online, so we don't have a lot of dependency on the phone system. I'm planning to try it for my personal phone line, but I'm still leary of leveraging this technology for our business. Does anyone have any suggestions (or warnings) for me?
  • Re: Is VOIP reliable enough for running a small business?
    gmonkey Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    I use VOIP at home, and I do not have any problems with it...most of the time. The biggest issue is making sure that your internet service provider is reliable and that they have the bandwidth to accomodate both the voice and the data. I have had issues when my ISP goes down, and then guess what, I have NO PHONE. That is a bummer for the business.

    Check into that before signing up!
  • Re: Is VOIP reliable enough for running a small business?
    buybigtires Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    That depends on many things:

    1. How many lines will be incoming?

    2. What is the current upstream/downstream feed for your internet provider?

    3.Does your router have QoS built in (Quality of Service)?

    We are currently running VoIP in our office, using Vonage as a provider.

    We originally had issues with the service, because our speed wasn't high enough.

    We had less issues, but still had problems with our service, because our router didn't have QoS built in.

    Now, we occasionally have problems, but not too many. If you do alot of international calling, or calling in general, then I think VoIP makes great sense for you. Just remember, no phones when the power goes out, and your 911 service changes. Oh, and 411 costs 5 bucks a call.

    BTW, I run 3 seperate lines, plus a fax line. all for $500 a month, with extremely high call volume. That is with 300 a month ISP fees.
    • Re: Is VOIP reliable enough for running a small business?
      BDS INC Novice
      Currently Being Moderated
      VOIP is great for small business. I use a company called Packet 8 and I have two phone lines, a dedicated 800 number and a fax line. I haven't had any problems and I save $97.00 a month based on what I was paying Verizon.
    • Re: Is VOIP reliable enough for running a small business?
      macro_comput Newbie
      Currently Being Moderated

      I believe in a comprehensive approach and not just one way and that is looking at the dollar with tunnel vision and thinking that you have the best deal or setup before you instead of hiring a consultant.... I believe that it is important to find a company that understands the importance of being colorful with their approach to solving the complexity of communicating with customers and business... I have seen a lot of companies that take this for a joke and give you very high phone bills and so on and it's not fair to the business owner at all....

      I think that this gentleman is paying entirely too much for his voip services..... I thank that he could have done a traditional approach that would have been very cost effective and complete... with no problems at all... However, because his specialty is in another field he doesn't know that he's robbing himself of money every month... My suggestion to you is to get with a consultant that has saving your back pocket in mind and at the same time getting you quality, affordable service also.

      thank you
      • Re: Is VOIP reliable enough for running a small business?
        intechspecial Master
        Currently Being Moderated
        I also believe that you get what you pay for, and unfortunately so did the Better Business Bureau.

        I am in the business of Information Technology, and my qualifications, training, and experience would have to say that VOIP is not the best choice for business.

        It might save you a dollar, on your phone line, but how secure is it really?

        Is there evidence to support the security issue with VOIP.

        Well of course, I would not be stating the issue if there was not. The VOIP providers will try to hide this fact.

        There is of course the issue with someone tapping into your phone outside of your building, but it is much easier to catch someone tapping into your phone line outside the building than it is to see the hacker listening in on your conversation across the internet.
  • Re: Is VOIP reliable enough for running a small business?
    vegatcgroup Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    VoIP has come a long way, but there is still that reliability issue. Also, don't forget, you are now using two service providers, an ISP and a VoIP company. There are a few companies such as Time Warner that are introducing VoIP, but most are not for business. They are residential services only.

    Personally, I use ATT and DSL at my business and get everything for one price, under $100 a month. I also get unlimited long distance, a listing in the business phone book, and about 10 other services I really never use, in one package. The biggest issue I have had with VoIP, I did use Vonage for a time, was bandwidth through my ISP for conference calling. If you are doing a three way call and try to get on the internet at the same time, packets get mixed up and it sounds like your voice bounces, sometimes it would just cut out completely.
  • Re: Is VOIP reliable enough for running a small business?
    creditdata Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    I used a voice over IP for some time on a larger scale we had 1 T-1 and then a back up T-1 for a fixed cost of 1100.00 a month we used a company called XO Communications we very seldom had any issues with down time. We saved alot of money over traditional phone services.
  • Re: Is VOIP reliable enough for running a small business?
    dedtees Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated

    A few points about VOIP (I used to work and train at a major VOIP company).

    1. If you put your VOIP enabled router first and have all of your computers/routers/etc run behind it, the QOS will be maintained. The VOIP enabled router will make sure the voice packets are sent and received before the downloads, helping your conversation, but slowing down your uploads/downloads (files, internet, etc).

    2. Your ISP is extremely important. If they go down, you go down. However, there are services that some VOIP companies offer that send your phone calls to another line. When your device doesn't check in, it will automatically forward to another phone, such as your cell.

    3. I use VOIP for my home and business service. I have an 800 number that forwards to my cell phone as well. When I am out of the office, I never miss a call (depending of course what area I am in for my cell service).

    4. You can get voicemails as text or a wav file sent to your email with some VOIP companies.

    Side note: You can get free 411 calls by using 1 800 GOOG-411
    http://www.google.com/mobile/goog411/index.html

    Hope this helps and if anyone wants to talk even more about VOIP and pick my brain I would be happy to discuss (I worked there for 3 years-before it become very big).

    Thanks,
    Eric Duchin
    P:732-713-1848
    http://www.dedtees.com/
    We do it all, silk screen, embroidery, digital printing, marketing materials, and more!
  • Re: Is VOIP reliable enough for running a small business?
    JiMan56 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Let's talk about reliability: There are very few systems that are "reliable" any more. Why? Since the break-up of AT&T, the entire industry has been on the track of "separating the network elements." A company will focus its efforts on one part of the network, be it the long haul fiber optic cable, the metro fiber rings, the connection from the street to the bldg, the "in-building" riser cable, and finally, the cable distribution plan within your own space. And of course, add on your communication devices to finish everything. In other words, the POTS of yester-year (Plain Old Telephone System) which had five 9s reliability (99.999% up time) is a distant memory. At 99.999%, you did not have service for an average of say, a few minutes per year. Nowadays, a system (remember- all in- and virtually no "provider" controls all the elements) rarely achieves four 9s (99.99%) let alone three 9s (99.9% up time). While these figures still sound good, the drop off is precipitous. At three 9s, the downtime is about 7 days/year. And don't think that it is 7 days in a row or 3 days here and 4 days there. It could be 7 days spread out over minutes or even seconds.

    To answer your question: Yes, VoIP is excellent and works well. Part II: Try to make sure the VoIP controls (owns) as many of the network elements as the any other provider. Let's face it> we are now conditioned to losing a connection. Hey, if you don't carry several portable communication devices, you are asking for trouble....

    More avail > just contact me...
  • Re: Is VOIP reliable enough for running a small business?
    stick2basics Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    VoIP is reliable taking into consideration all the things listed by other people. I personally like http://www.viatalk.com/. The have Free 411, Free second line.

    Residential service is only $199 per month.

    Here are some of the services vonage doesn't give you: Call Alarm
    / Wake-Up Call,
    Free 411 Directory Service, Voicemail Notification Via SMS Text Msg, Fax Service, Soft Phone
    Access,
    Custom
    Caller ID w/ Name,
    Operator
    Services,
    Call
    Broadcasting,
    Custom
    Outgoing Voicemail Messages, and much more.

     

     

    vtb_unlimited1 month3 month6 month12 month24 month
    U.S / Canadaunlimited min.unlimited min.unlimited min.unlimited min.unlimited min.
    Voicemailyesyesyesyesyes
    Caller Idyesyesyesyesyes
    Call Waitingyesyesyesyesyes
    Caller Returnyesyesyesyesyes
    e911 supportyesyesyesyesyes
    Call Huntyesyesyesyesyes
    Do Not Disturbyesyesyesyesyes
    Custom Call IDyesyesyesyesyes
    411 Servicefreefreefreefreefree
    Fax Linefreefreefreefreefree
    Internationalrates varyrates varyrates varyrates
    vary

    *rates
    vary
    *
    Extra Minutesincludedincludedincludedincludedincluded
    Plan Details$42.95/mo.$41.95/mo.$40.95/mo.$39.95/mo.$35.95/mo.


  • Re: Is VOIP reliable enough for running a small business?
    moogrdotcom Novice
    Currently Being Moderated
    I use Voip and couldn't be happier. I pay 1.95/month per DID (number) and then 3.95 per toll free DID. I pay less than 1 cent a minute for domestic and about 1.8 cents a minute for toll free anywhere in the US.

    DID's in Voip act like PRI's so you can have multiple channels incoming/outgoing and just pay for the minutes used. I purchased some grandstream voip phones, use voip software and have recently started to purchase cisco voip (sip) phones.

    I use Asterisk hosted on my co-located server and it allows me to work from where ever i have internet. Pretty neat since i can setup conf calls, get my voicemails in email and get everything i need. I even run my faxes through asterisk/voip. Of course i have multiple providers setup and i have QoS enabled on my router and i use a v-lan to segregate the traffic as much as possible and made sure not to cheat myself on bandwidth. With the telco savings alone it was a no-brainer to upgrade our internet service at home and the office.
  • Re: Is VOIP reliable enough for running a small business?
    crewology.com Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    HI lovemyPYP, I THINK YOU SHOULD LOOK AT ALL YOUR OPTIONS FIRST ALL VOIP SERVICE PROVIDERS ARE NOT EQUAL OR CHOOSE 3 TO LOOK AT DONT JUST GO WITH THE FIRST ONE. THEY ALL WILL HAVE GREAT FEATURES, YOU CAN DO SO MUCH MORE VIA VoIP THEN LAND LINES. RINGCENTRAL IS GREAT AND I THINK ATT OR VERIZON OFFER VOIP SERVICE THEY MAYBE A LITTLE MORE IN TERMS OF COST,BUT THEN THEY WILL SAY WE'VE BEEN AROUND FOR WHATEVER TIME THAT SAYS SOMETHING ,BUT NOT EVERYTHING YOU KNOW, LOOK AT GLOBALINX THEY ARE NOT AS HARD OF AS VONAGE OR RINGCENTRAL,BUT THEY PROVIDE GREAT SERVICES, JUST LIKE THE OTHERS.
    AND THEY HAVE VoIP VIDEO PHONES THIS IS GREAT IF YOU ARE IN A NETWORK OF USERS THAT HAVE THE PHONE SERVICE YOU CAN SEE EACH OTHER AND THESE CALLS ARE FREE WORLD WIDE AS LONG AS THEY USE GLOBALINX VoIP SERVICES AND IF YOU JUST WANT TO USE YOU OWN PHONES YOU CAN,BUT WHY WOULD YOU WHEN YOU CAN USE A VIDEO PHONE.

    GREAT FOR WORK FAMILY AND FRIENDS
    FOR MORE INFO. E-MAIL: gary@crewology.com
    • Re: Is VOIP reliable enough for running a small business?
      intechspecial Master
      Currently Being Moderated
      In my case it is a horrible choice for business.

      On a regular basis, people would call and get a dead line.

      I contacted customer service regarding this and other issues, and it was impossible to get appropriate help. I had to go to the BBB to resolve the issue, and was refunded for only one month of service.

      VOIP utilizes the internet. It is possible for a hacker to "hack into" a VOIP line. Not a good idea in the competitive business world.

      I contacted my VOIP carrier again, and they agreed there was an issue, but offered no support or resolution, only stating they could get into a hard line as well, from outside the building.

      The VOIP carrier I used was the number one carrier in the business, and one of the first as well.

      In my eyes, the VOIP technology has a long way to go before completely successful and secure.

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