(PRWEB) February 28, 2013
Just as residential customers enjoy immense savings with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service, business owners are discovering that VoIP is a great choice for them as well. However, before deciding on a specific VoIP service, it's important to first consider all of the options available in business VoIP.
Typically, those options boil down to an on-premise IP PBX with a SIP trunk, or a hosted PBX service. “IP PBX” is the general name for the hardware or software that connects calls between extensions through an Internet protocol connection. If a business wants to manage their office phone system as an in-house operation, they can choose a hardware or software IP PBX which they maintain themselves, and outfit it with a SIP trunking service from a business VoIP provider.
However, a business could also opt for a hosted PBX solution. Hosted PBXs are IP PBXs that are operated and provided entirely by a VoIP service provider. The customer accesses and utilizes the hosted PBX remotely through a cloud platform. Many people prefer hosted PBXs because they are easier to own and operate, and much cheaper than traditional telephone service with an analog PBX.
To help business owners figure out which business VoIP service is right for them, TheDigest.com has put together a handy list of questions every business should ask before selecting a business VoIP option.
1. How many simultaneous calls does the business expect to have?
With an on-premise IP PBX, the SIP trunk controls the number of simultaneous inbound and outbound calls a business can have. The amount of ports a SIP trunk has determines how many total calls can be placed at the same time. Calls between extensions are unlimited and don’t impact the number of SIP trunks a business needs.
One port is good for one call. So, a SIP trunk with 30 ports allows the business to have 30 inbound or outbound calls at once. The business typically estimates how many calls they expect to have at any one time, and then chooses a SIP trunk with that many ports. There are also SIP plans that offer unlimited ports.
With hosted PBX, on the other hand, every extension has unlimited outbound and inbound calling, so there is no limit on simultaneous calls. For a business VoIP customer that makes a lot of calls at the same time, like a sales office, a hosted PBX may be the better option as hosted PBXs will guarantee unlimited calling for every employee at all times. An IP PBX with a SIP trunk may be better for a business that has more extensions than they have simultaneous calls.
2. Does the business have an IT staff?
With a hosted PBX, the service provider handles the hardware off-site. That means any regular maintenance or upgrading is the provider’s responsibility, it’s part of the service plan. With an on-premise IP PBX, a business needs to have someone on staff that can handle the regular maintenance and upgrading of the hardware.
A business that already has someone on staff that can handle the maintenance requirements might prefer an IP PBX with SIP trunking as they are usually cheaper than hosted VoIP in the long run. But a relatively small business that won't take on any extra employees or doesn't already have an IT staff might see a hosted PBX as the better, easier option.
3. Can the business handle the upfront cost of PBX hardware?
Purchasing, installing, and then maintaining an on-premise IP PBX can be pricey. Although there are some IP PBXs that retail for as little as $100, others have price tags ihe tens of thousands. However, a business could program their own using free open source PBX software and a computer. However, with the monthly savings VoIP offers, a business can make back any initial upfront cost in no time.