By Emma Lewis, bOnline
It’s 2024 – so we can officially say the landline switch off is coming next year!
Arguably one of the biggest things to happen to telecoms in 100 years or more, from December 2025 landlines will no longer work. Affecting both households and businesses across the UK, anyone who uses the copper landline network for phone calls – and to run many other business systems – will be affected.
With this in mind, businesses in particular are looking at VoIP digital phone alternatives. But for start-ups, microbusiness and sole traders especially, this may feel like a daunting task. Therefore, we’ve put together some of the most commonly asked questions about VoIP digital phone systems to help you get started.
They’re brief bullet points to get you thinking and it’s well worth doing your homework thoroughly before choosing the VoIP system you need. You may therefore also find our recent articles What Makes a Good VoIP Provider and Switching To VoIP: What Small Business Owners Really Want To Know useful.
What is VoIP and How Does It Work?
VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a technology that means voice communication and multimedia sessions are carried out over the internet instead of traditional copper phone lines. It converts analogue voice signals into digital data “packets” for transmission. As a technology it’s been around for many years but accessibility and capability have come on at pace in recent years.
How Secure is VoIP Communication?
As long as proper protections are in place, VoIP is very secure. It’s essential to use encryption protocols (like SRTP), implement firewalls, regularly update software, and always make sure access is restricted to keep security maintained.
What Are The Key Benefits of Using VoIP For Business?
Cost savings, flexibility, scalability, improved features (such as voicemail to email), and enhanced collaboration are some of the key benefits. VoIP packages also often come at a fixed monthly price that includes calls which can help keep costs lower. This is particularly the case if you make a lot of international calls.
VoIP systems can also be accessed remotely on many different devices, including your smartphone or tablet, which is great for working on the go. All you need is a stable internet connection, so 4G, 5G or Wifi.
Can You Make an Emergency Call Using VoIP?
Yes you can call the emergency services on 999 using a VoIP digital phone system. You just need to make sure you have a stable internet connection as mentioned above and make sure you give them your location.
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Is VoIP Hard to Set Up?
The process for getting set up with a new VoIP digital call system largely depends on the VoIP provider you choose to go with. However, bOnline specifically specialises in very small businesses and startups, getting you set up in under 2 minutes. It’s all done remotely as well, so no ‘techie’ knowledge is required. They even offer a free 7-day trial with no commitment, making it the ideal way to try out all the business-friendly features.
How Can Businesses Ensure a Reliable VoIP Service?
Having a robust and reliable internet connection, implementing Quality of Service (QoS) settings, and choosing a reputable VoIP service provider are crucial for reliability. However, VoIP is well known for being far more reliable than landlines, and particularly mobiles, as the quality of sound is higher and there’s no worry about signal outages.
What is The Difference Between On-Premises and Cloud-Based VoIP Systems?
On-premises VoIP systems are hosted locally, while cloud-based VoIP systems (like those offered by bOnline) are hosted on the internet. Cloud-based solutions therefore offer more flexibility and scalability as your business grows. This is especially the case if your team isn’t always office or shop based but work from home or need to travel around.
How Does VoIP Handle International Calls?
As mentioned, VoIP can significantly reduce international calling costs. Many providers, including bOnline, offer competitive international calling rates, and some even include certain countries in their plans. No more expensive roaming charges!
What Role Does Bandwidth Play in VoIP Call Quality?
Sufficient bandwidth is crucial for clear and uninterrupted VoIP calls. The recommended bandwidth depends on the number of concurrent calls and the type of media being transmitted, however we always recommend fibre over standard broadband.
How Can Businesses Troubleshoot Common VoIP Issues?
Businesses can troubleshoot by checking internet connectivity, router settings, updating software, ensuring proper hardware configuration, and working closely with their VoIP service provider’s support team.
Ready to Try VoIP For Free?
Don’t forget, signing up for a free 7-day trial with bOnline is the perfect way to try out all of the 45+ calling features without the commitment. Features include call divert and management, voicemail, video calling, hold music and much more. It’s all done online in just 2 minutes, and once it’s set up you can access your VoIP system from any internet-connected device.
With the landline switch-off fast approaching, now is the time to make the jump.