VoIP Gateways Article

How Best to Handle the Move to Business VoIP

May 12, 2017

So, your business has decided it’s ready to make the leap to VoIP and all the unified communications (UC) benefits it enables. Perhaps your legacy phone system has become outdated, difficult to maintain and downright pricey for the amount of features you’re receiving from it. Or maybe you’re starting a new business and want to get the collaboration features of a VoIP solution right out of the gate. You now need to decide how to implement VoIP and how to get the most out of your investment without incurring significant capital expenditures.

There are generally two paths to VoIP and both offer different features and benefits. An IP-PBX (News - Alert) uses VoIP out of the gate, offering all the functionality of a traditional PBX with IP handling voice and other services. Typically located on site at a business, an IP PBX handles call switching for all users and can also interface to traditional analog phone lines and other legacy equipment and services.

An IP-PBX definitely has its advantages, particularly for businesses that plan to expand and enable things like remote work and home offices. It supports messaging, find-me/follow-me features, voicemail forwarding and mobility. Many systems also offer conferencing and reporting right out of the gate as well as advanced systems for call accounting and billing.

Not every business needs the features and functionality of a comprehensive IP-PBX system, not to mention the associated price tag (News - Alert). An alternative option is a VoIP gateway, offering a migration path to VoIP for businesses that may already have a legacy phone system in place. The gateway essentially converts standard PSTN calls and faxes to IP and back again, enabling interoperability with existing equipment without the need for a wholesale upgrade to an IP-PBX.

A VoIP gateway enables a slow and steady migration to VoIP while still supporting traditional hardware and services. Growing companies that wish to upgrade sluggish and outdated equipment without making a major investment can benefit from a gateway as they incrementally add new features and functionality to their phone systems and make the move to VoIP.

IP-PBXs and VoIP gateways each have their pros and cons and both offer a migration path from the PSTN to VoIP. Any business interested in upgrading to VoIP should evaluate their existing equipment, determine the features and functionality they are looking for in support of their core business goals, and then make a decision about the best way to handle the move to VoIP.

Edited by Alicia Young
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