Steps to Transitioning to VoIP

If you have a traditional phone system or no phone system at all, and you’ve made it here, chances are you’re considering switching to a Voice Over IP system. VoIP has several benefits over a traditional phone system, especially if you own a small business. Once you decide to go with VoIP, it’s time to start thinking about the transition.

Adopting any new technology can be stressful, particularly when it requires a substantial shift in work policy and broadly increases a company’s or other organization’s capabilities.

To help ease this transition, we’ve put together this primer of sorts, a roadmap to navigating the process with as few missteps and false starts as possible. With this information, you should have no problem bringing your organization into the 21st century with a modern Voice Over IP phone system.

Evaluate Your Current System and Capabilities

The first thing you need to do when planning a switch to a VoIP system is look at what your current analog system can do. This gives you an idea of the type of system you’ll need to replace it. Start by asking the following questions:

  • How many lines do I have? Do I need more? Will I likely need more soon?
  • What features do I have that I use? (Call waiting, call screening, caller ID, etc.)
  • What features do I need/want?

The answers to these questions should give you a good idea of what you’ll immediately need from your new system to avoid any interruption to your daily operations. Of course, the other consideration when planning a new system is where your business is headed.

Are you moving locations? Downsizing? Expanding? Opening a new branch? Are you looking into remote work? As with any new IT system, you want to leave yourself room for future expansion and growth. For something like a private branch exchange, the rule of thumb is five years or one-fifth. This means planning for growth for at least five years or a growth of 20% of your current setup.

Of course, if you have more detailed analysis and growth projections, use those numbers instead, but be sure to leave a little extra wiggle room so you don’t exceed expectations and hit your system’s hard cap.

In practical terms, plan for a system capable of handling 20% more lines and dedicated numbers than what you currently have. Of course, if you go with a hosted, cloud-based PBX system, you don’t need to worry about expansion because you can add, drop, or change lines and numbers on the fly without worrying about any hardware. Your hosted PBX provider handles it all.

Setting Up Your IT Infrastructure

It’s about to get pretty technical from here, but don’t worry; we’ll break this down into some pretty easy-to-understand steps. Of course, if you get lost, feel free to show this page to your network admin.

Put the Plumbing First

Whether you’re building a house or a new VoIP system, it’s important to consider the plumbing. In IT terms, this means the core infrastructure that handles the traffic on your network. When looking specifically at a VoIP system, you must start by creating a Local Area Network that can recognize, prioritize, and protect the integrity of real-time media. In this case, your VoIP traffic.

Prioritize the Important Network Traffic

If your network is a busy highway, you want to create an express lane for important, high-priority traffic. On the interstate, this is the HOV or emergency vehicle lanes. In terms of your network, this means prioritizing time-sensitive traffic. Nothing is really lost if your email takes an extra fraction of a second to load, but that same fraction of a second in latency can make a VoIP call a garbled, compressed nightmare.

Build on a Strong ISP Foundation

You’ll also want to ensure that your IP service provider is up to snuff and provides you with the speed and bandwidth you’re paying for. To reuse our highway analogy, bandwidth is the number of lanes. If you’re paying for eight lanes of traffic, but you’re only getting four, there will be some issues when you try to run the eight lanes you think you’re prepared for. The same is true of network bandwidth.

Make Use of All the New Features At Your Disposal

A VoIP system, particularly a cloud-hosted one, offers many features that traditional telecom solutions can’t. With a digital phone system, you can generate call reports, utilize conference calls on any line, route, merge, and screen calls, create custom hold and call-waiting messages, and so much more. It can be overwhelming at first, but once you master all of the new features offered by your VoIP system, your transition will be complete.

Back To

Request a Free Quote