Currently, there are two foremost ways to obtain VoIP services, and both have advantages and will yield excellent results in terms of cost savings and better features. Once you have made the conclusion to switch to VoIP, then it’s time to come to a decision whether or not you want a hosted service, or wish to deploy on site. The decision-making process is not always cut and dried, so it pays to know beforehand how each one functions.
On Site VoIP
An on site VoIP system places all the equipment, including but not limited to the IP PBX, cables, routers, and other devices directly at your location. As opposed to Hosted VoIP, where the equipment is generally “cloud” based with service delivered via an internet connection.. From a cost perspective, depending on acquisition method (cash or lease) an on site system may be more expensive up front because of the capital expenditures, although on a month to month basis, it will be less costly than a hosted system.
When installing your VoIP equipment, some companies will have skilled internal staff to handle the installation, but more often the equipment will be purchased from a value added reseller or integrator, who will handle the installation process for you. This of course, will add to the overall cost.
The advantage to an on site system is primarily three fold; first you retain the maximum amount of control, second your total cost of ownership over 5 years is generally less, and third depending on hosted delivery the call quality of on-site system is consistently better..
Hosted VoIP used to be primarily for very large companies. More recently with the greater avaialblity of cost effective large bandwidth hosted has also become viable for smaller companies. A hosted VoIP implementation is the simplest, and can often be provisioned in a single day. Because the actual equipment (except for your phones) is hosted at a third party facility, you don’t have to worry about installing and maintaining a PBX. As a result, up-front costs can be minimal as compared to purchasing the IP PBX.. Month-to-month costs may still be slightly higher than if you were to run an on-site system, but still less expensive than using the public switched telephone network (PSTN).
Because a hosted VoIP system relies on your service provider’s PBX system rather than your own in-house system, you may have access to a higher-end, powerful, and more feature-rich system handling your calls, and one that is being managed 24×7 by skilled staff. However, the quality of your calls are directly dependent on the quality of your internet service provider combined with the deployment methods of the Hosted equipment vendor. You will want to make sure you have a strong service level agreement and a guaranteed level of performance and minimal downtime, which to any business is quite valuable.
Hosted does have some advantages for small companies with multiple sites, road warriors and staff that works from home. Hosted can provide cost effective seamless call coverage with the appearance of a “large” company. Another key advantage to hosted VoIP is the ability to scale quickly in response to changing needs, or alternately, to scale downward (depending on agreement terms) if you find that you need fewer services and have less capacity requirements.
A variation of on site VoIP is a managed VoIP service, where a third party provider, which may be the VAR who did the installation or another provider, handles all of the management of your on site system, including day-to-day management such as adds/changes/moves, ongoing maintenance, and remote monitoring. Although this will add to your monthly cost, you will have the advantage of having access to skilled personnel who can handle everything on a remote basis 24 hours a day, and typically will provide you with a service level agreement.
Pacific States Communications is Northern Nevada’s leading resource for both VoIP and Hosted VoIP.