What is an internet phone?
The use of IP Phones started popping up in the business world around the year 2000. The concept was simple, what if voice conversations could be sent over the data network? A couple business drivers that helped promote the use of the internet phone was access to more affordable always on internet and broadband services, locating a more economical way to send voice traffic from site to site or to remote sites utilizing existing traditional point to point T1 circuits, the need for the integration of home workers as digital extenders and dual connect telecommuter methods were costly as well as decreasing administrative costs by making moving offices simple by simply moving the internet phone.
For those that attempted to leverage IP Phones for your business at that time might have experienced quality issues as quality varied due to the internet connections, clients network (firewall, router, and switches) as well as how traffic was handled, managed and utilized. Deploying IP phones inside your business was more contained as IT managers could control internal traffic measures; however, once voice packets were sent outside your business to a remote site or a home IP phone it was hit or miss. The use of internet phones were less common for homes or remote sites at the time as IP Phone technologies didn't accommodate for security. Home or remote sites had to purchase costly VPN (virtual private network) devices that accommodated for Quality of Service (QoS) measures which made home working expensive. IP Softphones could have been utilized on the home workers laptop; however, end user experience was hit or miss at the time due to not sufficient resources on the workers computer as well as the home workers broadband or internet connection had to be separate from other house computers as poor bandwidth management measures were available.
A Few Early Misconceptions about Business VoIP:
When the internet phone was introduced the top misconception included that calls could be made for free! This was not the case as to connect to the internet phone you needed to purchase a business telephone system at your headquarters to provide such features. Once that was accomplished anyone on the corporate network could connect to the main business phone system at no cost; however, calling outside the corporate network was still a cost. When VoIP (voice over internet protocol) was introduced it provided businesses access to all their typical phone features over an IP desk phone. VoIP technologies utilized H.323 which only allowed proprietary phones to work within the corporate network.
In addition, businesses thought they needed to rip and replace the entire phone system to make their system internet phone ready to take advantage of IP phone technologies. This was not the case. Service providers introduced dynamic phone services such as dynamic T1s, voice over IP (voip) circuits and SIP trunks to allow clients to keep their investment protected; however, change out their telephone lines. When clients utilized business IP telephone lines, providers gave a bundle of free minutes to the local calling area which reduced clients spend.
Lastly, administrators were ecstatic as they could easily move IP phones to a new office and they magically come up. This provided a lower cost of ownership for businesses and no longer did they have to call out their phone system technician. This is partly true. Yes, a huge benefit of IP phones is plug and play technology. However, phone systems became much more intelligent. Features like hot desking, roaming profile management, unified communication, mobile twinning and bridging, extension to cellular, and more became more prevalent that it reduced the need for moving physical phones as a physical phone tied you to your desk. Administrators were also challenged with a new set of administrative duties that included from network related issues (i.e. DHCP resolution, VLAN mismanagement, Quality of Service problems, etc); whereas, in the past the digital telephone worked or it didn't.
The use of the internet phone today!
Times have changed. The access to less expensive business class internet is now available and the access to better home internet connections is plentiful. The price of costly network equipment that was required to be updated came down in price. Internet phone technologies have improved where the virtual private network (VPN) is actually built inside the phone itself reducing the need for a corporate firewall at the home or remote locations. Management tools to manage network traffic has improved allowing for better quality of calls.
Four Ways to Take Advantage of IP Technologies:
Purchase an IP ready telephone system. Some businesses can simply upgrade their existing phone system to accommodate for this to keep their investment.
Convert your traditional phone dial tone services to cloud phone service with the use of voip phone service provides and SIP service providers. No need to rip and replace your existing phone system. If you would like to leverage bundled dialtone services and reduce your usage bills let us recommend phone service providers that allow your business to leverage these technologies.
The world of cloud pbx has gotten better. Hosted pbx providers and access to multiple options for cloud phone system solutions is picking up momentum on certain markets that need access to basic features. These solutions are simple and provide basic dial tone and basic features as well as an easy to use end user call control application for a standard office environment. The virtual pbx has become more popular; however, lack customizable features that businesses are use to.
Lastly, for businesses that are attracted to the cloud phone system for the redundancy benefits; however, are discouraged by the cloud phone for the lack of customization and flexibility in features can now elect for the private cloud phone system. This option allows your business to leverage the features and flexibility of an on premise phone system as well as benefit from reliability of the cloud. Businesses are designing their own business private cloud around their specific businesses needs and getting best of both worlds.
For more information or pricing on any one of these options contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.