Sunday, November 24, 2013

How to Switch to VoIP

It’s really not going to take too long before you realize that you need to switch to VoIP. VoIP can save you a bundle. You get comparable (if not better) service. You become more accessible. Plus, it’s easier on the budget, especially if you make a lot of long distance calls.

Of course, there are steps to take. And you need to have the right kind of setup in order to maximize your benefits from VoIP.

First on the list is to make sure that you have internet connection that’s good enough for VoIP. This is a crucial factor in your VoIP setup. Without reliable internet, you won’t enjoy your VoIP. It’s even doubtful if you can have decent conversations through it.

So, test your network first. You can do a simple ping test, which would tell you how fast you send and receive packets, as well as how much packet you lose. This is hardly enough though. For better network and VoIP testing and monitoring, use a third party service, such as VoIP Spear. With VoIP Spear, there’s a free account that lets you test single endpoints. This is perfect for home users.

What a VoIP testing service like VoIP Spear does is that it monitors your network performance continuously at set intervals. Through your control panel, you can access test results, which give you a clearer picture of how your network is performing. It’s not just a one-time thing. You see your network profile, according to different performance factors, such as packet loss and latency. You don’t have to be a technical person for this. Mean Opinion Scores (MOS) are given, and these are easy-to-understand measures of network and VoIP performance.

When you see that your network profile is good enough for VoIP, begin to shop for a paid VoIP service. (Skyping for free will not be enough if you want full-service VoIP.) You would also need to decide on the gear that you would use with your VoIP service. You can go simple, and just use your computer. Add in headphones and a good microphone. Or, you can choose to buy a SIP phone. You can also stay loyal to your analog phone, and just attach it to an ATA.

For offices – even small offices – it may be a bit more complicated. You will need to buy more SIP phones or ATA units. You might even require an IP PBX or a gateway for your old PBX. You need to prepare a modest initial budget for this.

When you have all this, you would need to take care of your DID number. This is the publicly listed phone number. You need to transfer this to your VoIP service provider. If you are a residential user or just have a limited number of DIDs, your service provider does this for you. However, you have several DIDs, you will need to coordinate with your phone company directly.
Once this is taken are off, you’re all set.

By the way, make sure to prepare for contingencies too. For one thing, maintain your VoIP monitoring and testing service. You will need to check this time and again. Plus, set up backup power, such as a UPS or generator. This keeps you accessible even during power outages.

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