Are you thinking of getting a new telephone system for your business? The first thing you need to know is that whatever telephone system you choose, it will be internet based in one form or another due to the Digital Switchover 2025 (see https://bit.ly/40sHbsG for more on that). No more analogue lines!
These new telephone systems all use VoIP (pronounced “voyp” and stands for Voice over Internet Protocol). Aside from all the exciting and valuable features VoIP telephone systems offer, here are 5 areas of your IT you need to consider before choosing or implementing a VoIP telephone system:-
- Network cabling – if you’re migrating from an old analogue telephone system you should budget to add a new network socket for each telephone handset you want to replace.
- Wi-Fi – if you intend to run softphones and smartphones on Wi-Fi instead of traditional handsets, you should explore whether your existing Wi-Fi solution can handle the extra bandwidth of VoIP calls, whether it is reliable enough and whether it has enough coverage around your premises.
- Separate network switches / VLANs* – Whilst you can have both your IT equipment and your telephone equipment on one big network, it can just as easily cause a problem. Also, a lot of VoIP handsets allow you to run both your computer and your telephone from a single network socket. However, in the event of a computer or telephone issue, it can complicate and lengthen the troubleshooting process, muddy the lines of responsibility and cause lengthy and unpredictable disruption for you, your colleagues and most importantly, your customers. Consider creating one network for IT equipment and a separate network for voice.
- PoE Switch – PoE stands for Power over Ethernet – In simple terms, using PoE powered handsets means that instead of having both a power lead and an ethernet lead (network lead) into your handsets, you’ll just need a single ethernet lead. Check with your provider if your new handsets are capable of PoE and if they are, it’s worth considering a PoE switch for the handsets to plug into.
- Internet – if all your telephone calls now go through the internet, you need to ensure your internet is as reliable as your previous analogue lines. Check out my previous blog – https://bit.ly/40sHbsG – ‘7 considerations when choosing internet for your business‘.
It’s very easy when looking at a new telephone system to overlook your IT systems. Get it right with the IT and you’ll have a much smoother transition to your new VoIP system. Get in touch today with The Virtual IT Director if you would like to some further guidance.
* VLANs = Virtual Local Area Networks – In its simplest form, breaks up physical switches into virtual “mini switches”