VoIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol, is the modern standard for a business’s phone calls and telephone lines which is why many South African businesses are making the switch to VoIP. A brief explanation on what is VoIP South Africa: VoIP uses Broadband Internet to replace traditional copper telephone lines to create efficient, clear and cost-effective telephone lines for businesses. Using cutting edge IP technology, VoIP systems route your business’s voice calls over secure Internet at low call rates, creating cost savings and quick, easy to deploy telephony. Business-grade VoIP in South Africa is not to be confused with your standard, free VoIP offerings such as Skype and Whatsapp calling. Business-grade VoIP offers better quality call clarity and functionality than the traditional incumbent copper line legacy infrastructure while typically reducing a business’s overall telecom costs.
How Do I Know My Organisation is Getting a Business Grade VoIP Service/Package?
There are a few critical elements to look at when considering whether the VoIP service you are looking at is of a quality high enough to be considered for your business, these include:
- Does the VoIP service provider use a secure APN if it is wireless? An APN is defined as an “Access Point Name” and is the connection verifier ensuring that your connection to our Tier One voice network is secure and stable at all times.
- Is the VoIP network you are connecting to Tier One? Tier One networks are those networks that connect directly to the core South African mobile telecommunications suppliers including Telkom, Vodacom, MTN and Neotel, now Liquid Telecoms. Wikipedia defines a Tier One Network as – an Internet Protocol (IP) network that can reach every other network on the Internet solely via settlement-free interconnection. This is important because you do not want to be routing your voice traffic through multiple tiers. United Voice uses the ECN voice platform which is one of Southern Africa’s leading Tier One wholesale voice suppliers.
- Request details on other sites or review the VoIP service providers’ online reviews to ensure you are dealing with a stable, competent VoIP service provider that understands business VoIP systems.
What Internet Connection Do I Need to Set Up VoIP Business Telephone Lines?
Business-grade VoIP Packages in South Africa are typically deployed on either secure APN LTE connections which are typically the most rapid greenfield (new site with no legacy infrastructure) set up options, in these cases, the widely available LTE (4G) network is used with secure LTE APN technology to create a secure VoIP channel breakout and provide business quality voice for 4, 8 and 16 channel SME VoIP solutions.
Businesses with existing fibre or wireless broadband connections that have sufficient capacity and stability can also use these “data pipes” to channel their VoIP voice calls. In these cases, we will inspect the size and stability of your current onsite Internet breakout and establish whether it may be used to channel a separate VoIP solution. In these instances we use special hardware to essentially slice a small segment of the Internet pipe away for voice only, this is very important as it ensures that business quality VoIP is maintained and is not compromised during periods where the Broadband internet is heavily utilised.
To sum up, you require a stable and secure broadband connection to run a business-grade VoIP package in South Africa. The beauty of a VoIP solution is that this means we can either use an onsite connection should it meet the required criteria or we are able to supply, rapidly and cost-effectively an LTE APN solution. Either way, we are able to supply businesses with their VoIP requirements at time frames at a fraction of what they were in the legacy Telkom copper days.
Are There Any Risks or Negatives to My Business Switching to VoIP?
There are some risks associated with changing your business to VoIP and that’s why it’s so important to work with a supplier you trust and has a proven track record. These risks include:
- Poor Quality Voice Calls – With any change, you risk ending up with a system or supplier that doesn’t work, VoIP is a proven technology that now accounts for almost all of the new commercial Telephone Lines being installed globally, but it is important that you do your research and make sure that the solution is well designed and follows best practices advised above.
- The Voice Network Goes Down – In this scenario, you cannot make or receive calls as the entire network you utilise for voice calling is down. Avoid this by choosing a Tier One voice network that has redundancy built into it, also ensure that your chosen VoIP supplier has the ability to forward your core incoming business number to a mobile or alternative line in the event that a network outage occurs.
- Your Internet Line is Damaged or Goes Down – Ironically for businesses that cannot afford any downtime, the beauty of VoIP phone lines is that they can be set up with failover redundancy something not available on traditional POTS/Analogue Telkom lines. VoIP lines may be set up to failover to a redundant internet breakout in the event that your lines are damaged, fail or your Internet Provider suffers an outage. This ensures that no matter what externalities may affect your broadband connection there is a back up that keeps your telephony up and running.
Of course, there are other fringe cases, but ultimately VoIP is the future of commercial telecommunications, the benefits of a properly implemented VoIP Telephone system are numerous and the risks are largely avoided with a properly installed solution.
SIP Trunk Lines – What are they in relation to VoIP?
Essentially SIP Trunk lines are just the technical name for VoIP lines, SIP stands for – Session Initiation Protocol and refers to the TCP/IP-based network protocol used to establish a connection between your VoIP system and the outside world. SIP trunk solutions are the standard of PBX voice systems as they are a direct replacement for your existing legacy copper telecoms infrastructure. United Telecoms’ SIP offering creates massive cost-savings across your call usage profile. Most modern on-site PABX solutions also come with SIP connection ability, meaning no additional cards or routers are required for your on-site switchboard system to connect to your VoIP solution.
SIP trunks run over an IP network instead of a traditional phone line, and they are easily expandable, adding or subtracting business telephone lines upward and downward as needed. Finally, SIP trunking allows for extensive customisation and failover redundancy. Our SIP solutions allow for quick and easy rerouting of calls to mobile numbers or any other number in the event of an emergency.
VoIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol, is the modern standard for businesses phone calls and telephone lines. VoIP uses Broadband Internet to replace traditional copper telephone lines to create efficient, clear and cost-effective telephone lines for businesses.
Why should I switch to VoIP?
Apart from the fact that VoIP is significantly cheaper than traditional phone lines, VoIP comes with a host of other benefits including; complete scalability, quick and easy deployment, value-added features, mobility and the ability to keep your number.
How much does VoIP cost?
VoIP can save your business up to 60% on your monthly phone bill as line rentals and call rates are much cheaper and you benefit from free interbranch calling. Our VoIP packages start from as little as R430 per month.
What connectivity is required for VoIP?
The right voice connectivity is crucial to ensuring your business’s VoIP calls are of the highest quality. We recommend only running VoIP over LTE, Fibre or Wireless connections.
Can I keep my landline number with VoIP?
Yes you can. You can move any geographic number from any existing service provider to your new VoIP service provider.
United Telecoms has strategic business partnerships with multiple Voice and Data providers allowing us to offer you the full suite of VoIP products and packages in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Our expert account managers handle all dealings and integration of the VoIP connectivity into your current or new VoIP PABX. Our solutions are designed for stable, high-quality business-grade voice and can be customized to suit any make or model of PBX and instantly reduce call costs.