With technology advancing all the time, it makes sense to consider how to build a successful VoIP infrastructure to enhance your communication processes. Planning is an essential function of every business. This might be the right time to make changes to your communication stack.
It takes a bit of thought and planning to build a successful VoIP infrastructure. When you get it right, you’re sure to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Your planning process should include:
- Identifying your company’s needs.
- Ensuring that you have the right setup for your network.
- Making sure that you have qualify of service when all is said and done.
- Having a failover or backup communication plan.
- Preparing your team to use it successfully.
- Setting it up to maximize its potential and taking advantage of integrations.
- Checking it, testing it, and monitoring it.
Once you’ve determined that a VoIP system is right for your business, you’ll want to avoid things that can get in the way of using it.
One of the important benefits of a well-designed VoIP infrastructure is gaining the ability to use software integrations. These integrations can take your business to the next level.
Factors to a Successful VoIP Infrastructure
To get familiar with the factors that go into a successful VoIP infrastructure, let’s dig into some basic definitions of VoIP terminology—VoIP, VoIP infrastructure, and VoIP integrations.
VoIP stands for voice over internet protocol. VoIP is a technology that lets you make and receive voice and video calls over the internet. This replaces the outdated method of sending voice signals over copper wires in cables across the country.
VoIP infrastructure refers to the on and off-site networks, internal connections, and any physical equipment that allow your VoIP system to operate.
VoIP integrations are software solutions that let your team simultaneously use compatible digital tools and sync information between them. VoIP integrations automate many processes that you’d have to do manually otherwise, and they play an important role in eliminating the problems associated with human error.
Here are the things you need to consider for building a successful VoIP infrastructure:
- Hardware – router, a potential VoIP adapter, internet connected devices, and headsets
- Internet connection – getting the best quality connection for enhanced clarity and reliability
- Bandwidth – ensuring you have enough bandwidth to maintain a quality connection
- Software – applications, integrations, cloud-based phone system
All of these things work together to ensure that your VoIP system functions well.
Things That Hinder VoIP Infrastructures
VoIP first came on the tech scene around 1995. As with any new technology, there were some bugs to work out in the beginning. VoIP technology has matured quite a bit since then. Many of these problems were worked out along the way.
It pays to plan for a successful VoIP infrastructure to prevent problems down the road. Your VoIP infrastructure has several different components and there’s a risk of having a problem with any one of them.
When any part of it fails to work well, it’s not always quickly apparent whether the problem is related to your network, VoIP connection, or your software.
VoIP Features to Consider
Some of the things that you should pay attention to that can hinder your VoIP infrastructure are:
- Blocked ports – If the ports between your communication devices are blocked, your voice services might not work properly or they could fail completely.
- Access lists – (ACLs) ACL rules could be blocking data packets from getting to IP addresses.
- Firewall rules – takes ACLs a step further by inspecting data packets and deciding if they’re secure enough to send them through.
- Network address translation (NAT) – Translates internal IP addresses to external public IP addresses. New practices can prevent problems with NAT for SIP voice communications.
- Signaling – Most VoIP systems use SIP for signaling which refers to things like starting calls, sending ringtones, and establishing services for call conferencing, call parking, call waiting, etc.
- Trunk provider ports – The ports on the network edge and on the SIP provider end need to be forwarded correctly.
- Voice traffic – If the ports between vendors and your phone system are blocked, you might get no audio or only one-way audio.
- Firmware – vendors regularly update their firmware to improve it and address potential problems.
- Quality of service – quality of service mechanisms can prevent voice transmission problems.
That’s a lot of technical information to take in. As noted earlier, a lot of the bugs have already been worked out, but if you run into problems, your vendor or telephone company can usually help you sort them out. The clearer you can be on what kind of problems you’re experiencing, the faster you’ll be on your way to fixing them.
Is VoIP the Right Choice?
There’s not a hard and fast, one-size-fits-all answer to the question of whether a VoIP system is right for your business. If you’re currently using a traditional phone system or a PBX system and it’s working great for you, you might not be convinced that making a switch to VoIP is worth the effort and expense. However, what is working today, may not work as well for you in the future.
Even if your current system works fine today, it’s prudent to start thinking about how your business communication needs could change in the future and how a VoIP system could help you address them.
Questions to Ask Around VoIP
It pays to ask yourself some of the following questions to determine whether VoIP is the right choice for your business now or later:
- Do we need a better way to communicate internally and with our other locations?
- Would a call center improve services to our customers?
- Can we be more efficient by integrating our CRM with our phone system?
- Will our business grow and need increased communication capabilities in the future?
- How could our business improve if we could tap into software integrations?
- Can we do better with getting calls to the right people sooner?
- How can we deliver the best customer experience possible?
- Are our competitors taking advantage of modern phone systems?
- Is human error costing us too much?
- Do we need a communication system that allows for mobility?
- Can we foresee a time when we’ll be using remote teams or distributed teams?
- Will we need to interface with other technologies soon?
If those questions have you thinking that you’re getting closer to the time that you’ll need a VoIP infrastructure to run your business efficiently, there are some things you can do now to prepare for it, even if it’s only in your long-term plan.
You’re taking the first step by learning more about it. First, check into seeing if your current network infrastructure will support VoIP. Also, it’s not too early to make some inquiries about whether your current Internet Service Provider has the bandwidth to handle the requirements of increased phone traffic. Your VoIP vendor should be able to help you determine how much bandwidth is enough, or you can consult with a specialist.
Finally, you’ll need to figure out a budget for making the switch and build the timing into your strategic plan.
The Advantages of VoIP Phone Systems
When large numbers of companies are making some sort of change, there’s generally a good reason behind it. In the case of VoIP phone systems, there are plenty of good reasons to consider making a change. Here’s a list of some of the most useful benefits of VoIP phone systems:
- Lower costs – The cost of doing business is high and it’s worthwhile to use cost-effective measures wherever you can find them. A VoIP phone system will save you costs in hardware, cabling, and call fees. Perhaps more importantly, it saves costs by helping you work more efficiently.
- Increased accessibility – You and the rest of your workforce can work anywhere you have an internet connection.
- Complete portability – Virtual numbers give you the ability to keep the same number wherever you’re using your business phone.
- Greater scalability – If you need to scale up or down, there’s no need to add hardware or new lines, and you can do it immediately.
- Advanced features for small and large teams – Robust call features help large teams work efficiently and they can make a small team appear to be working as a large team.
- Clearer voice quality – Call quality has come a long way and with noise-canceling microphones and advanced audio compression, it’s better than ever.
- Supports multitasking – Allows you to communicate on multiple channels at the same time.
- Gives you the tools to support a call center – VoIP systems make it possible to set up fully functional distributed teams or remote teams.
VoIP phone systems are growing rapidly because of these and other advantages. With the recent improvements in internet reliability, VoIP is worthwhile considering now or in the future.
VoIP Integrations to Drive Modern Business Success
Cloud-based applications are quickly becoming staples in the business world. Aircall’s cloud-based phone system talks to other tools and workflows to help you move seamlessly from one tool to another and sync data between them. The integrations in Aircall’s App Marketplace supplement your cloud phone’s features to help your call team be more efficient and assist them in providing highly personalized service for your customers.
Here are some of the integrations and their functions that you can use with Aircall:
If you prefer to use your own integration, Aircall’s open API makes it easy for developers to build highly customizable products.
The advantages of a well-functioning VoIP infrastructure are apparent in terms of both functionality and add-ons, like integrations. With a little time and thoughtful planning, a VoIP infrastructure might just be the best choice for your business. There’s no time like the present to get ahead of the game.