Should I buy a VOIP System?

Did you know you had a choice?  When people talk about VOIP System, there are traditionally referring to a Hosted Voice Over IP System.  A Hosted VOIP system is when the only onsite equipment is the telephones and a data switch to connect you to the internet.  The “phone system” is located off-site in your provider’s location.  There are advantages and disadvantages to a Hosted VOIP Solution.

Solutions for Telephone Systems

  • Hosted VOIP ($15-$30 per user, per month forever)
    • Pros
      • Small # of users can experience features at lower costs
      • No Equipment on Site
      • Easy to Move Extensions from Desk to Desk
      • Depending on Carrier, Redundancy is built into price
      • Scaling up and down is as easy as adding phones
    • Cons
      • Less Features in complex environments
      • Long Term Cost can be double On-Site Systems
      • Security of calls and voicemails in unknown location

In contrast an On-Site VOIP System has its “brain” or server installed at the location where the phones are.  A carrier such as Verizon, Time Warner, Mettel, or Cablevision then brings in phone lines to connect to the system.  All phones are similar to the hosted system in that they use Voice Over IP technology and data switches to connect back to the “brain”.

  • On-Site VOIP System ($3.00 – $10.00, per user for 5 years, $2.00 – $5.00 after 5 years)
    • Pros
      • Long Term Cost is less
      • As size of system grows, per user cost decreases
      • All typical programming can be done on-site quickly by an admin
    • Cons
      • Features such as recording and call accounting are expensive items to add with small systems
      • Redundancy and resiliency is typically cost prohibitive compared to Hosted
      • If existing data network is having issues, voice calls will be effected along with data network.
      • Phones need to either share existing Cat5e or Cat6 Data cable to workstation or a separate Cat5e or Cat6 needs to be installed.

A On-Site Hybrid System is similar to a On-Site VOIP system in that the “brain” is on-site, but differs in that it can implement multiple technologies at the end-points including VOIP phones.

  • On-Site Hybrid System
    • Pros
      • Existing Cabling can be used even older cabling
      • Long term cost can be 50% less than Hosted VOIP and 30% less than On-Site VOIP
    • Cons
      • Moving of extensions is not a easy as other solutions
      • Redundancy and Resiliency is more expensive in smaller solutions

See Wikipedia –