VoIP Myths vs. Facts
Pros and Cons. Base Your Decisions on Fact.
If you've heard of VoIP, you’ve no doubt heard the exuberant claims. "It will inevitably replace the current telephone network." "It will revolutionize business as we know it." "You can call anywhere in the world for free."
Not all the claims are positive. "VoIP calls are not secure." "The quality of service is below that of the public network." "Installing VoIP will wreck your LAN."
What's hype and what's unvarnished gospel? Do the praises they're singing ring true or false? What are the genuine risks?
There are a lot of independent resources that have analyzed the topic. Search the Internet with the keywords "VoIP" and "Myths" and you'll find a dozen articles. Or, you can get the condensed version from those we've compiled below.
Conclusion: Your customers, your vendors and your competitors will take advantage of the increased functionality and cost savings of VoIP telephony. When business broadly adopts these practices, expectation for performance in responsiveness and versatility will increase. Remember how Fed-X and faxes changed people’s perception of speedy service? Count on increased expectations in your business.
Need to amortize a previous investment or take a lease to term? Your business can use the old familiar PBX and desk sets until they fall apart (the phones, not the employees) and still take advantage of the cost savings created by sending some voice traffic over the Internet. The smartest applications can even route calls along the least expensive paths. (See Epygi Quadro E1T1 Gateway)
Your IP phone does not prohibit you from calling devices of any other type: landline, mobile phone or satellite. Internet service providers offer myriad plans that include everything from flat monthly charges for unlimited calls to a schedule of charges for international calls to metered calls by the minute and even prepaid privileges. With your own network comprised of an IP PBX, gateways and phones (see Epygi), you have an almost unlimited choice of compatible services.
Where traditional analog telephones transmitted sound as electrical waves, VoIP samples your voice hundreds of times per second and transmits the information digitally. It's possible with the right decompression and sound reproduction equipment to approach the sound available on MP3 or CD players.
Fact: With a DSL or cable connection, traffic congestion can still cause service hiccups at this stage in the technology's development. Power outages do occur. Maintaining a traditional line or lines for emergencies is still a good practice.
A properly engineered network and quality service providers can enhance call quality, prioritize voice traffic and prevent problems. Still, it doesn't hurt to have the benefits of converged voice and data while keeping one foot in the past. No matter what ISP you choose, any telephone system you adopt should include provisions for a "lifeline" to the public switched (and line powered) network (see Epygi Quadro IP PBX).
Consider, too, that if your business is spread over multiple locations, survivability can be better supported today by IP telephony than by traditional PBXs. If you have two locations supporting communications and B fails, B is simply cut off. Under VoIP, B can remain running since it can reconnect via location A.
A secure communications network is critical for any business of any size. Your transition to IP voice must include protection from cyber-thugs looking to eavesdrop. The best IP PBX systems and associated routing devices (see all Epygi products) have built-in security features including a firewall and Virtual Private Networking.
Conclusion: A hacker that can access your data stream can decode the voice protocol and even make calls using your lines. The good news is that whatever is deployed for data security also is applicable to voice packets. Taking proper precautions and the right hardware can make your VoIP network as secure as any other form of telephony without sacrificing valuable features.