CallCapacityIf you’re just starting to look into business phone systems, you might be a little confused by all the jargon surrounding VoIP. While it’s important to educate yourself about the technology you’re using, the good news is that these acronyms describe a fairly straightforward technology. So, stick with us and by the end of this post, you’ll be able to talk about VoIP like an expert.

Voice over IP (VOIP): VoIP is the technology that is used to transmit voice over the Internet. The voice is first converted into digital data which is then organized into small packets. These packets are stamped with the destination IP address and routed over the Internet. At the receiving end the digital data is reconverted into voice and fed into the user’s phone. Vonage business phone systems are referred to as “VoIP” phone systems as they are powered entirely by the Internet.

IP: IP, Internet Protocol, defines the way data packets, also called datagrams, should be moved between the destination and the source. More technically, it can be defined as the network layer protocol in the TCP/IP communications protocol suite. If you think of VoIP as a highway, IP is sort of like the exits that define where data gets on and off.

Kbps: Kbps is the acronym for kilobits per second and is used to indicate the data transfer speed. If the modem speed, for instance, is 1 Kbps then it means that the modem can route data at the speed of one thousand bits per second. Kbps is the acronym for kilobits per second and is used to indicate the data transfer speed. If the modem speed, for instance, is 1 Kbps then it means that the modem can route data at the speed of one thousand bits per second. It’s important to know how many Kbps your router and modem have to make sure your office gets the clearest call quality possible.

Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the volume of data that can be transmitted over a communication line in a fixed amount of time; expressed in bits per second (bps) or bytes per second for digital devices and in cycles per second, or Hertz (Hz) for analog devices. When speaking with a specialist about business phone systems, they may ask about your Internet connection or bandwidth to make sure that your office is set up to handle VoIP.

SIP: SIP, which is the acronym of Session Initiation Protocol, is an IP telephony signaling protocol. It is primarily used for voice over IP (VoIP) calls, though with some extensions it can also be used for instant messaging.

SIP Phone: A SIP phone is a telephone that uses the SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) standard to make a voice call over the Internet. Not all phones are SIP-enabled. When comparing business phone systems, ask your prospective providers if they support your phone or can make a recommendation of SIP phones.

Softphone: This is a software application that is installed in the user’s PC. It uses the Voice over IP technology to route voice calls over the net. The audio is provided through a microphone and speakers plugged into the sound card. The only limitation of a Softphone is that the phone call has to be made through a PC. This type of phone is great for when you’re traveling and want to be able to make calls from your laptop with nothing more than the use of just a headset.

PBX (private branch exchange): A telephone switching system that interconnects telephone extensions to each other in-house as well as to the outside telephone network.

Hosted PBX: An Internet telephony solution that follows the Software as a Service (SAAS) model by hosting phone system equipment in remote datacenters so that it can be managed from a web interface rather than through the administration of physical on-premise equipment. Remember the old closet full of equipment that your office used to have years ago? That’s a “on-premise” PBX and most modern business phone systems for small business have moved beyond this technologically bulky model to hosted services.

DID (Direct Inward Dialing): A service that provides a block of telephone numbers for calling into a company’s private branch exchange (PBX) system. Using DID, a company can offer its customers individual phone numbers for each person or workstation within the company without requiring a physical line into the PBX for each possible connection.

Work-from-homeTHUMBAt one time, safety features such as anti-lock brakes, air bags, traction and vehicle stability control were reserved for those who purchased the most expensive cars on the market. Now entry-level cars are equipped similarly to high-end vehicles, thanks to innovative automakers who understood the changing needs and desires of the average consumer.

A similar revolution is taking place within the telecommunications industry. In the recent past, Fortune 500 companies were the only telecom customers that could afford feature-rich PBX phone systems. In fact, many telecommunications service providers paid little attention to small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

1) Now Available: A Market Smart System

Customer Quick Clips

Why I Selected Voice over IP
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology has helped drive down the cost of monthly service and offers an attractive alternative communication solution with all of the bells and whistles of more expensive traditional options. However, the cost and complexity associated with installing on-premise VoIP PBX systems may still be beyond the reach of many small businesses. Intricate implementations and on-site maintenance issues often remain a barrier for SMBs that would otherwise adopt this technology. Consequently, players that offer on-premise VoIP PBX equipment and service have continued to focus their energies on larger companies with greater resources and more money to spend.

A 2006 industry report from Frost & Sullivan notes that micro-enterprises constitute 89 percent of the total number of business establishments in North America, but are for the most part under-served by the majority of today’s telecom solution providers. The demand for IP telephony and site-to-site or interoffice VoIP services is clearly on the minds of small- to medium-size businesses. A 2006 survey by Forrester Research found these companies were up to three times more interested than larger enterprises in such services.

However, Vonage Business is addressing the needs of the SMB market with hosted PBX solutions that offer feature-rich, flexible options at a considerably lower cost than previously available choices. Hosted business VoIP PBX systems offer SMBs a means to operate more efficiently and gain the same features and functionality that large companies consider critical to their success.

2) A Tailor Made Solution for SMB’s

With a hosted VoIP PBX, micro enterprises can project the appearance of being larger and more effective without having to bring in IT professionals to address their network needs. Hosted service providers such as Vonage Business, for instance, make it easy for these small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to take advantage of a VoIP network by offering customized service packages that are priced on a per-month basis, thereby enabling better management of operational expenditures.

With a hosted PBX offering, there are no expensive upfront equipment costs. However, an SMB gains all of the advantages of a carrier-grade communications system that is fully redundant and includes back-up and fail over capabilities. By only having to invest in IP phones, there is no concern of having to update or replace obsolete hardware.

SMBs that implement a business VoIP system are highly satisfied with the results and are also likely to recommend it to peers. A 2006 study conducted by Savatar, a North America-based telecom consulting firm, noted that once they have deployed VoIP, 69 percent of respondents indicated they would highly recommend the technology. Throughout the study, respondents demonstrated why VoIP is advantageous to their business. They cited lower total cost of ownership (TCO), lower monthly recurring costs (MRC), and better system management as primary concerns driving their VoIP purchasing.

3) The Perfect Pairing for Road Warriors

There’s no denying that reliable phone systems are critical for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that need to stay in touch with their suppliers, customers and partners regardless of geography. Continuous service in today’s 24/7 environment plays an important role in businesses of any size. The cost of missing a phone call, voice mail or e-mail while on the road can be particularly high for the business owner who is trying to win new business or maintain existing customers. Staying connected while on the road is a chief concern for SMB owners and their sales teams. Checking voice mail from the road can often be time-consuming and consequently, many remote workers give out their personal cell phone number as a more expedient means of staying connected.

With a hosted PBX, road warriors can increase their productivity through a myriad of options including a “Follow Me” feature that enables call forwarding from a desktop phone to a mobile phone or home phone. This feature can be set up two ways – when a call comes in, it can be directed to ring on a mobile phone for 15 seconds, then on a home phone for 15 seconds, and on to an alternate number or voice mail. Alternatively, a simultaneous ring can be set up for incoming calls to ring on a desk phone and mobile phone at the same time ensuring that regardless of location, they’re sure to receive the call.

Another important feature for the road warrior is the ability to receive voicemail through e-mail as a .wav file or call into a mailbox remotely and check messages. In essence, the mobile phone or PDA becomes an office extension and there is no longer a need to have a desk phone to be part of the PBX.

4) No-Hassle Plug & Play Service

When small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) deploy PBX solutions that are maintained on-site, a service technician must initially install the system and then move or re-install phones every time there is a staff change. To say that this investment of time, resources and working capital is a strain on a business owner’s patience and wallet is an understatement. In contrast, hosted PBX solutions have been estimated to save business owners thousands of dollars each year. The ability to quickly set up a hosted VoIP PBX system through an easy plug-and-play approach means a SMB can have a solution that is up and running in minutes, not hours or days.

This time and money saving technique also has long-term benefits. With a hosted PBX solution, even the most non-technical employees can set up or make changes to an extension simply by going online and clicking on an “update” icon. Making such updates doesn’t require a specially trained IT professional as is often the case with an on-site system. If the employee can navigate the Internet, then he or she can easily make any changes or modifications to the features and functionality of the business’s hosted PBX system. There’s no more waiting for a technician to show up and move phones or having to “do without” an extension for any period of time.

5) Multiple Locations? No Problem!

Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) aren’t necessarily defined as the “mom and pop” operation down the street – in fact, they often have multiple locations around the country. A hosted business VoIP PBX allows micro enterprises to unite their dispersed locations and employees under a single communication system with a “Work from Anywhere” approach. This approach leads to increased efficiencies through the elimination of long distance charges between offices, multiple phone systems and the associated headaches that go hand-in-hand with managing these different systems. A unified solution also provides a professional image and makes it easier for customers to reach the desired party they are initially calling.

6) Highly Reliable and Disaster-Proof

SMBs that continue to use traditional PBX systems are actually putting their operations at risk for downtime as well as high upfront and maintenance costs. The reality is that many business owners who are using antiquated phone systems don’t realize their equipment is dying until it is too late. In the worst case, this could cost a business thousands of dollars and have a dramatic impact on their profitability. During a natural or other unforeseeable disaster, a small business could also lose its traditional phone system in an instant. Conversely, with a hosted PBX system, phones will never “die” and Call Continuity features can ensure business stays on track at all times.

Since information comes into a central, hosted system, voicemail is stored and never lost and extensions can be re-activated by simply plugging the IP phone into a new broadband connection. The customer never receives a busy signal or an out of service message. Put into perspective, this feature alone could not only save a business from losing profitability – it could literally keep the business from having to close its doors for good.

The cost of business VoIP service has always been a compelling reason for businesses to switch from using their old, analog system to a hosted phone system. Not only are monthly bills typically lowered by a minimum of 30%*, but being able to administer the entire system by yourself means eliminating costly maintenance fees. Finally, with so many affordable VoIP phones to choose from, making and receiving calls on an IP phone or mobile phone allows you to stay connected almost anywhere – without breaking the bank.

The Upfront Cost of Business VoIP Service

Let’s say that you’re a brand new business with nothing in the office but some empty desks and file cabinets. First, you’ll need to invest in a quality Internet connection which typically means a cable or T1 line – at least. You’ll need a quality router to deliver Internet to your different employees and you’ll also need IP phones that are compatible with VoIP technology. And honestly, that’s about it as far as an upfront cost. You don’t need a special in-house PBX to manage your phone system and you don’t need to hire a maintenance professional to set up or regulate the system.

If you’re an established business with most of that equipment, you may only need IP phones, which begin as low as $50 for a business-class, entry-level phone. As long as you have an acceptable Internet connection and a way to have all of your employees connected, you’re good to go! The only additional cost from your business VoIP service is if you decide to add on additional features like Company Call Recording, Voicemail Transcription or maybe a Virtual Mailbox.

Monthly Add Ons

One way to boost your productivity with your business VoIP service is to select some add-on features that suit your office. Insurance agents, medical offices and legal specialists who may need to – or may be required to – record all calls can do so with a premium add-on feature like Company Call Recording or On-Demand Call Recording. With a no annual contract VoIP service, you can choose to cancel this feature at any time. So if you’re running tight on cash one month and you want to reduce the amount of features in your VoIP phone system, it’s as easy as calling the Customer Care department and temporarily cancelling those features.

Cost-benefit of Off-Site Maintenance

When thinking about the cost of business VoIP service, consider the savings that you’ll accrue month after month when you don’t have to continually hire a tech to come out and refresh the system, install new features, plug in someone’s phone or configure settings. Vonage Business hosted model means that we push features directly to provisioned phones. When we roll out a new service offering, you and your employees will automatically be able to use it – no maintenance or waiting necessary.

Canceling an Old Contract

Many prospective customers don’t think they can afford VoIP because breaking their current contract would cost them hundreds of dollars. Because everybody is different, why not contact Vonage’s Sales department for a no-hassle quote? Then, compare those monthly costs to what you’re currently paying. Chances are, even if your current provider charges you a few hundred dollars to cancel, you’ll still be saving money by switching to Vonage.

So why not get a quote right now? A helpful VoIP rep can give you a quote that’s customized for your needs and it’ll help you get started in figuring out the cost of your business VoIP service.

 

Though the economy continues to improve day by day, comparing affordable phone systems is still a business owner’s concern as he or she also needs to weigh the cost of other core business services to keep the doors open. Year over year, Vonage Business continues to provide small and mid-size businesses a cost-effective way to address their critical communication needs.

Save at Least 30% on Your Phone Bill*

Unlike the costly traditional phone services which many companies still rely upon to conduct business, Vonage’s Internet phone solution (hosted VoIP solution) instantly allows these entities to slice their monthly phone bill by at least 30 percent.* And while seeking ways to operate more efficiently often means having to do more with less, this is anything but the case for companies that turn to Vonage.

Small businesses who seek out affordable business phone systems choose Vonage because they find that they get everything and more than what they previously had with an analog provider. These features include an auto-attendant, Voicemail to E-mail, Follow Me settings, Music on Hold, Simultaneous Ring and the ability to work anywhere. Vonage’s fixed rate service also means there are never any surprises when the phone bill arrives or as phone usage fluctuates through times of increased or seasonal call volume.

Low Cost, Low Overhead

Businesses that turn to Vonage for their affordable business phone systems don’t have to worry about installing expensive or complex equipment often associated with such a sophisticated offering. Companies only need to purchase full-feature Internet phones – for around $150 – which are literally ready to use once they are plugged in and connected to the Internet. The initial investment for comparable systems may cost three times as much and require businesses to install complex equipment which is often expensive to maintain.

Internet phone service also allows business to cut costs in other ways in the face of today’s challenging economy. Through Vonage’s service, companies can easily address rising operating costs by allowing employees to work from home. There’s no longer a need, for instance, to lease expensive office space to house a call center to give a company a distinctive corporate office. Instead, employees with an Internet connection may easily work from their residence while the company still appears to function from a single location and phone number through a unified communication system which provides a professional image and makes it easy for customers to reach their desired parties.

The traditional office and the conventional phone system are things of the past, particularly in today’s economic climate where financial wiggle room is shrinking dramatically. With an affordable business phone system solution from Vonage, it is possible for small businesses to easily cut the cost of a critical component – a voice communication system. At the same time, these companies can also improve employee satisfaction as workers no longer have to contend with ever-rising commuting expenses.

Why not get a free quote and see how much you can be saving with an affordable, hosted business phone system?

More and more offices are choosing virtual phone systems to enable workers to stay connected no matter where they are. Vonage Business customers like 123 EDI and Reef and Rainforest chose a hosted phone service precisely so their talented employees can work remotely without ever feeling like they’re separated from the main company. A virtual phone set-up like the one provided by Vonage can not only unify your offices, it can also give you the presence of a much larger business while affording you a small business budget.

“Work from Anywhere”

Virtual phone systems are hosted “in the cloud” which means that you can access your technology wherever and whenever, as long as you have an Internet connection. If you’re the type of person who needs to travel frequently for conferences or tradeshows, you can easily connect to your business phone system via a softphone.

You can even unplug your desk phone and take it with you, perfect for maintaining a business presence even when you need some quiet time at your mountain cabin or beach house. And if you have the type of business where your employees need to be on a call – but you don’t want to have to purchase an entirely new cell phone for them – our Vonage Business Mobile apps for iPhone® and Android™ work directly through the cell phone while giving the appearance that you’re calling from your desk.

Big Business Presence

Project Partners uses Vonage’s virtual phone system to connect its employees across the United States while giving the appearance that they’re all located in the same office. By setting up their phone system with the same area code, sales professionals can close deals while presenting a professional appearance.

Transferring calls is easy, as employees can dial an extension just like they would if they were all sitting in the same office building. So if the Director of Operations in California needs to reach the Vice President of Sales in Boston, she can just dial his extension to forward a call, without having to ask the caller to hang up and dial an outside number.

Bottom Line

By choosing virtual phone systems, businesses are giving themselves a competitive advantage to be able to work anywhere, be more productive, and spend less money on monthly bills and maintenance.

Isn’t it time you got a quote to see how using Vonage’s virtual VoIP solution can help power your business? Fill out the form on the left or get a quote to get started with our no-contract service.

Business phone system: Entrepreneur at startup company

Cost Effective, Flexible and Easy

New lines are easily added to your business phone system, and there is no hardware to maintain on your end. All of your lines will be updated with the latest software and features with no hassle to you or your business.

A Healthy Bottom Line

Perhaps the number one reason businesses decide to switch to Vonage’s multi-line phone system is due to its extremely low cost. For one flat fee per user, you can save between 50% – 85% percent over a standard phone system. And for many businesses, both small and large, that’s tough to argue with.

The Flexibility to Grow

Vonage Business offers no annual contract hosted service. This means that you simply subscribe to our service, and there are no installation fees. There isn’t even any equipment to buy or lease, except for the phones themselves. Our goal is to help small businesses grow, because when you succeed, so do we.

You’re Always in Charge

New lines are easily added to your phone system, and there is no hardware to maintain on your end. Your entire system is customizable from a user-friendly web portal that gives you total control over your multi line phone system and account. You can change voicemail greetings, phone menus, and virtual receptionists from the Admin Portal. We’ve designed it to be as user-friendly as possible, however if you still need help, our knowledgeable customer care team is happy to assist you with any changes.

Want to know more about how Vonage Business can improve on your current phone system? Fill out the form today for a no-hassle quote!

ReliabilityIf you were born before the invention of cell phones, then it’s likely you remember the high price tag of long-distance calling and the unpredictability of a traditional phone bill. These days, land lines are becoming increasingly sparse, and cell phones have certainly made long-distance calling much more cost-efficient. Unfortunately, conducting business calls over a cellphone while you’re at the office can restrict calling functionality. Thankfully, VoIP is changing the way we view business communication.

What is VoIP?

VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a process whereby analog audio signals are converted into digital data that is sent out via the Internet. At Vonage Business, our business IP phone system utilizes your connection to the Internet and allows you to make phone calls from a desk phone, just as you normally would. The difference is you don’t have to pay high long distance calling fees. What’s more, our VoIP software is continually updated and improved to ensure you get the best service and connection possible.

Why You’ll Love It

We get excited about our business IP phone systems. Why? Because our innovative technology has the capacity to revise all small business phone systems around the globe as we know them. It’s that groundbreaking. Vonage Business is constantly improving our service offering, and using improvements in technology to further unify your communications. Vonage’s new Desktop feature allows you to instantly see information about a caller collected from the Internet when your phone starts ringing.

How Does It Benefit My Business?

The standard phone system served its purpose years ago, but with the introduction VoIP, it’s likely that land lines will eventually be weeded out. Some of the advantages of a VoIP phone include the following:

  • A business IP phone system is much more cost-effective than traditional phone systems.
  • An IP phone can be plugged in and a call can be placed anyplace where there is a broadband connection, allowing you to work from anywhere.
  • Unlike most traditional phone companies, our systems contain features that are included in your low monthly rate.
  • A VoIP phone allows you to check your voicemail messages over the Internet or attach them in an email.

Are you ready to find out more about how Vonage Business can bring the power of VoIP to your business? Fill out the form above, or call one of our knowledgeable and friendly salespeople at 1-877-862-2562 today. If you’d like more information on joining the VoIP revolution, you can also take a look at our Buyer’s Guide.

SOHO-MobileSplashMost customers choose Vonage’s business phone service for a combination of low prices, business-class features and anywhere access with 24/7 customer support. But many customers don’t know about all of the different tools that are available to them – for free – with every account.

Below are some of the great features and functions of Vonage’s

  • Saving Money with Business VoIP Service

    The cost of business VoIP service has always been a compelling reason for businesses to switch from using their old, analog system to a hosted phone system. Not only are monthly bills typically lowered by a minimum of 30%*, but being able to administer the entire system by yourself means eliminating costly maintenance fees. Finally, […]

  • Six to Switch: The Case for Business VoIP

    Vonage Business is addressing the needs of the SMB market with hosted PBX solutions that offer feature-rich, flexible options at a considerably lower cost than traditional systems. Find out the top six reasons you should be making the jump to VoIP.

  • Work from Anywhere with Virtual Phone Systems

    More and more offices are choosing virtual phone systems to enable workers to stay connected no matter where they are. Vonage Business customers like 123 EDI and Reef and Rainforest chose a hosted phone service precisely so their talented employees can work remotely without ever feeling like they’re separated from the main company. A virtual […]

  • Vonage Business Helps Small Companies with Affordable Phone Systems

    Though the economy continues to improve day by day, comparing affordable phone systems is still a business owner’s concern as he or she also needs to weigh the cost of other core business services to keep the doors open. Year over year, Vonage Business continues to provide small and mid-size businesses a cost-effective way to […]