VoIP infrastructure refers to the connection, bandwidth, software, and hardware that makes it possible for you to communicate with anyone in the world by transmitting voice over the internet. Many businesses are still using traditional phone service, but many are making the switch to VoIP.
VoIP is a popular type of technology that’s cost-effective and functional for today’s businesses. Businesses have the option of setting of a VoIP infrastructure by combining the technical components that suit them best or by purchasing an all-in-one bundled service.
The setup for your VoIP has a great impact on how well your phone system works. Security, quality, uptime, and support are all important considerations as you set up your VoIP infrastructure.
What Is VoIP?
With traditional landline phones, your voice first gets converted into electrical signals and carries them along copper wires to your calling destination. Next, when the signals reach the other party, it reverts them back into your voice before the caller picks up the call. Finally, the process happens quickly regardless of how far apart the two parties are. The cost of calls varies depending on the distance that you’re calling, because you’re essentially renting the phone lines between the parties. The farther the distance between the parties, the more you pay.
VoIP is an acronym for voice over internet protocol. In simple terms, VoIP is a type of technology that allows your voice to be sent over the internet as opposed to being sent through a local phone company cable.
When you talk into your computer directly or through a headset, it uses VoIP technology to convert your voice to electrical signals. First, the signals are converted into a binary language that computers can understand. The second step is when binary signals divide the data into smaller packets which make it possible for your router to transmit them through copper or fiberoptic cables to other computers before converting them back into intelligible words. The third, when software codes and decodes the signals along the way. Finally, when the data packets arrive at your IP address, the data gets reassembled into the proper order. This allows the receiving party to hear your voice message as you originally sent it.
It’s also possible to send VoIP signals to a landline by sending the signal through a carrier.
VoIP is an attractive option for businesses not only because it’s less expensive than traditional phone systems, but because it allows individuals to make and receive calls from any location. Another important advantage of VoIP technology is that it can be integrated with other cloud-based technologies. Such technologies include cloud-based phone systems, CRM, chat, email, and sales apps. Therefore, providing enhanced capability that facilitates better tracking, informed conversations, scalability, and greater productivity.
What to Consider for a VoIP Infrastructure
High-quality communications are a core part of your business. Quality and reliability are key factors in setting up your VoIP infrastructure. The essential things to consider when setting up your VoIP infrastructure are:
- Reliability and uptime
- Notification and troubleshooting
- Call quality framework
- Response and restoration
- Security and compliance
Focusing on these areas will help your users to have an optimal and seamless VoIP experience.
How to Optimize Your VoIP Infrastructure
VoIP consists of phone equipment, internal connections, and the connections to on-site or off-site networks.
Be sure that you have adequate bandwidth in your network to support your software applications. This should include your contacts, integrations, and any other apps you’ll need to operate your business efficiently. In other words, businesses need at least 64Kbps upstream and downstream for each concurrent call. This means around 1 Mbps per person. Having enough bandwidth will improve the quality of your calls and prevent problems with dropped calls.
Guaranteed bandwidth is preferable to shared bandwidth. Shared bandwidth costs less than guaranteed bandwidth, but it may cause you to sacrifice the stability of your internet connection. With guaranteed bandwidth, you get the guarantee of consistent internet speed, even during peak periods.
You can use either an ethernet cable or a WiFi connection for VoIP. Ethernet cables generally produce better results. If you need to use a WiFi connection, it’s recommended to use 5th generation technology or 802.11ac.
Use a professional router and firewall so you can program the QoS rules to prioritize voice traffic in your network. QoS rules will send your data packets with a high priority. This isn’t something you can do with a basic router. Setting your router up properly will prevent problems with echoing and delayed speech.
Supply your staff with wireless USB headsets. Avoid using Bluetooth as it may cause audio problems. Be aware that proxy servers and VPN connections may cause call delays, blocked calls, or interference in calls due to network traffic.
From a security standpoint, adopt standardized security frameworks like ISO 27001, ISO 27002, SOC 2, and PCI/DSS and check that your cloud-computing vendor uses them as well. Ensure that your VoIP provider encrypts your call content and the connections at both ends. Your cloud-computing vendor should be using secured data centers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or IBM.
Spam, viruses, hacking, and cyber crimes continue to rise. Properly setting up your VoIP infrastructure will help prevent some security risks, but all businesses must be wary of human error. It’s important for your business and teams to stay current on emerging security threats. Providing your staff with ongoing training about storing data securely, encryption, and organizing information, especially if they handle sensitive data.
Important VoIP Integrations to Consider
API is an application programming interface that works with VoIP integrations to make it possible for your digital tools to speak to one another, creating a seamless experience for users. Here are some of the important VoIP integrations you may want to consider.
Integration with your CRM system allows your sales teams to call clients automatically without having to switch devices. Therefore, making it easy to log calls automatically. Instead of risking human error by having to manually enter information when the call ends.
By integrating VoIP with WebRTC technology, companies can add click-to-call functionality to their websites without having to download and install an app, otherwise known as webcall or click-to-dial. Users simply click on an icon to request an immediate connection with another person in real-time.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing integrations allow your customers to engage with you on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. If they’re on social media and decide to chat with you, they can reach you through integration with VoIP.
Text, or SMS, is a popular way for customers to engage with businesses because of the ease of using mobile phones. Applications that can support text allow you to reply to customer inquiries within your core business apps. It’s a safe and secure way to ensure your messages are going to the right person.
Project/Task Management Software
Project and task management software is essential for companies that need to develop plans and schedules that involve teams. This integration keeps all team members current on a project from start to finish.
Microsoft Outlook, Gmail, & Email Clients
Microsoft Outlook supports VoIP, so users can make calls and manage emails if that’s where your company contact information is kept. In addition, this solves the pain point of having to look up phone numbers manually. This app also lets users receive messages as audio files.
Cloud Back-Ups Box
To minimize the risk of losing data, you can integrate apps like Dropbox, iCloud Drive, Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive. This is an efficient way to back up contact records, call recordings, messages, etc.
Choosing the Right Modern Phone System
The right modern phone system will support your communication needs now and in the future. As a result, when making decisions about your phone system, consider these factors:
- Your business objectives
- How you can get reliability
PoP is an acronym for point of presence. This term refers to the routers, switches, servers, and other devices that are needed for your traffic to cross other networks.
If you have a global company, you’ll need more PoP than smaller, local or national companies, so you can quickly communicate with other parts of the world.
Small and mid-sized companies generally choose data centers through companies like Amazon or Microsoft. Large, global companies with multinational customers require the infrastructure of one of the largest wholesale data centers provide.
Telecom carriers vary in their offerings of services and technology. You may have a choice of telecom carriers available in your area. Some carriers may provide advanced technology that your company needs. In the interest of consistent call quality, regional businesses need a carrier that has PoPs in the areas where they do business.
For this reason, you should consider whether your carrier has dynamic carrier switching, which offers the ability for your cloud phone system to switch between carriers that have the strongest signal.
Aircall works with the best providers so you get the highest quality coverage across the globe. We use WebRTC technology and it’s completely based in the cloud. Aircall allows your company to access voice transmission through your web browsers, web apps, and mobile apps, with little effort or expense on your part. Our open API capability gives you even greater flexibility making it your choice for a cloud-based phone solution.