This thread contains the statement: "There seems to be a jungle out there about VOIP"
. Very, very true and for business use you have to be savvy enough to distinguish between the good, bad and truly awful. You first task is to draw up a specification of what you want from VoIP as some features you may desire are not available from all hosted VoIP providers.
To state the obvious, VoIP uses the internet so if your initial thoughts are for 6 “seats”, all with DDIs and perhaps each one in use at the same time, then the voice quality may suffer with an internet connection sub 25Mbps. You may even need to use a separate ISP for VoIP purposes if your data traffic is particularly heavy.
Next a UPS is a must which on a practical level means your phones must support PoE. A further must is a basic corded phone connected to a POTS line for emergency use in the event of power failure. Consider an appropriate care level plan for this line, but at least at level 2. If everything is mission critical for you, then it has to be level 6.
Moving on how do you want to handle calls on your main number? Perhaps all phones will ring at the same time or will you need an auto attendant to route calls to groups of DDIs?
Outgoing calls might be restricted to having a CLIP of the DDI number whereas a CLIP of the main number is often desirable.
Some hosted VoIP providers insist on you using their own hardware and router which is often locked down so much that DIY changes are almost impossible. Would you be comfortable with that?
There is no substitute for a dedicated VoIP desktop phone to take full advantage of ALL the features that VoIP offers. The snom D375 (with the latest firmware) is to be highly recommended but if wireless phone are desired then phones from the Gigaset’s IP range should be considered. Don’t overlook the D800 which could be just the ticket for you.
Porting your numbers in to a VoIP provider is frequently chargeable and sometimes at outrageous rates. There may even be an exit rate from your existing provider especially if you are still in contract.
Watch out for the contract period you are entering into; it could be as long as five years.
Some hosted VoIP providers provide Wizards to set up your chosen hardware to work with their service, but those Wizards tend to lock down the phones configuration so you can only make a very limited number of changes.
Extension bells may be required and a cheap and cheerful solution is using an ATA with a bell although the use of Algo units is the more professional way to go.
Call plans are generally available but are often tied to per seat whereas the available minutes might be best suited across all seats. Interesting enough, it could be that PAYG may actually work out cheaper.
The 999 service is generally not available from a VoIP phone. However it is known to be available from Voipfone through a registration process.
Call recording may not be on your wish list, but I find it invaluable.
Don’t assume VoIP to VoIP calls (with the same provider) are free. Check that this is indeed available.
BLF, assuming your hardware supports it, is a must. Having LDAP is great, but a rare animal to find. Basically it allows you to have a central database of names against telephone numbers which will be read on any snom phone a name against a number and with the snom D375 a graphic as well. This same information also populates the call log with the name of the caller. The central database overrides duplicate entries in the personal telephone directory.
Almost certainly you will desire call pickup, easy enough to configure with a function key on a snom phone but a nightmare with other hardware
My own phone hooks into five hosted VoIP providers and my BLF indicates the service the incoming call is using. I have ‘out of area’ numbers something which a selected provider may not allow you to have. Interestingly conference calls across providers are possible but not call transfer.
Which VoIP hosting provider to use? Tough call this one but for business use recommendations made might not be your best match. Your own research is necessary for you want and should be hung upon trying to find the cheapest as that will certainly be a disaster.
I hope you find this helpful otherwise hit the delete button.
Edited by trolleybus (Sat 17-Feb-18 16:57:12)