There are many benefits to moving your company’s phone system to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol.) For example, you can take advantage of the scalability, flexibility, long-term cost savings, the latest communication features, and more.
However, to get the best performance from your VoIP system, you need to do more than just signing up for a service and hoping for the best.
Fast and reliable communication is key in today’s business world and getting the best performance from your VoIP network requires careful planning, active management, and ongoing monitoring.
Here are 10 best practices to help successfully implement a VoIP network so you can get the most out of the latest communication technologies:
1. Evaluate Your Current Network Infrastructure
To avoid delays and surprises during implementation, make sure that your network infrastructure, such as switch, router, firewall and security appliance, is compatible with the VoIP system you have selected.
Often, you’ll need to reconfigure or update the devices. In some cases, you may need to purchase brand new equipment. Since doing so will impact your upfront investment, it’s important to research a provider’s hardware requirement before signing up for a service.
2. Verify Your Bandwidth
The call quality of a VoIP system depends largely on the available bandwidth so it’s important to verify that your network can support the service’s requirement. Otherwise, your provider may not be able to deliver the highest sound quality or the level of service that you expect.
To ensure consistent call quality, your infrastructure should support Quality of Service (QoS) to optimize the transfer of data in the VoIP network.
3. Set Up Network Monitoring and Management
Proper network monitoring helps you stay ahead of any potential problems, (e.g., security weakness and bandwidth issues) that could impact call quality or the continuity of services.
Use a network monitoring software that can support your VoIP system. Combined with tracking the appropriate QoS metrics, it will allow you to see what’s happening on your network and how the activities are impacting VoIP traffic and call quality.
For example, you can get notifications if call quality is impacted due to insufficient bandwidth or QoS is not handled properly because of a misconfigured router. Such ongoing monitoring will help keep your VoIP call experience at tip-top shape.
4. Use a Broadband Provider That Prioritizes VoIP
You need a broadband provider that supports VoIP and QoS to ensure that you’re getting the highest call quality at all times. If your current provider doesn’t do so, consider leasing a dedicated line for your VoIP communications.
5. Engage a Second Broadband Provider
Smooth business operations depends on seamless communication and you can’t afford to be cut off if your primary provider encounters a problem that impacts the continuity of services, such as a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.
You should engage a second vendor that’s independent of your primary provider. When both services are up and running, you can load balance to achieve optimal call quality and when one goes down, you can still stay operational.
6. Implement Proper Security Measures
With the high cost associated with data beaches, cybersecurity is a key concern for today’s businesses. When selecting a VoIP service, make sure to inquire about their cybersecurity protocol to ensure that your sensitive information and customer data are protected.
Implement protection against attacks that target VoIP systems, such as call hijacking and man-in-the-middle attacks. Also, consider setting up intrusion detection, virtual LANs (VLANs), and VoIP-compatible firewalls to reinforce your system’s security.
7. Ensure Effective Internal Communications
There are many moving pieces when implementing VoIP software and some of them may impact your other IT systems. It’s very likely that your VoIP system will share the same network infrastructure with your IT network so what happens in one department will likely impact the other.
To make sure that changes in one system won’t affect the operations of the other one, establish a clear communication process between the VoIP network manager and the IT network manager.
In addition, you can use a centralized network management tool to boost network performance, ensure system stablity, and increase visibility into the entire IT infrastructure.
8. Understand Global Government Toll Bypass Regulations
Many VoIP services include unlimited international calling as part of their packages, which offers tremendous cost-saving benefits for any organization that do business globally.
However, there are some government regulations you should be aware of (e.g., using five-digit dialing for international calls) so you don’t run into legal issues when using certain types of peer-to-peer and conference call features.
9. Ensure Positive User Experience During Rollout
Deployment of a new communication tool can cause disruptions to both customer experience and internal processes. It’s therefore important to properly onboard your teams and set customer expectations to ensure a seamless transition.
In addition, closely monitor network performance during rollout to make sure that the bandwidth and network infrastructure can support the new technology. This will help minimize delays and call quality issues that impact the user experience and cost-efficiency of your operations.
10. Train Your Team To Optimize Cost-Efficiency
Leverage the extensive customer support offered by most VoIP providers to get your team the right training and resources so you can fully utilize the VoIP platform’s features while maintaining the system’s security.
If your service provider offers other communication tools, (e.g., text, chat, file sharing) establish a process so everyone knows what to expect and how to communicate effectively with colleagues and customers.
Conclusion: Optimize the Power of VoIP Phone Systems
VoIP phone systems have evolved beyond providing voice calls. Most offer a variety of cloud communication and collaboration features that will help consolidate your communication needs, allow your team to work together in real-time from anywhere, and improve operational cost-efficiency.
When selecting a cloud VoIP provider, consider the flexibility, accessibility, and scalability of the platform so you can add or remove features as your business scales to get the highest ROI.
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