If you’ve relied on traditional wired phone service for your home or business, trying to differentiate between all the latest telecommunication systems can be confusing. Mobile devices, cloud storage, the Internet – it’s all rapidly changing the way we communicate.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and virtual, cloud-based PBX systems are two of today’s most popular phone services for people that want to cut communication costs. While they both cost less than traditional service and don’t require expensive on-premise equipment, there are some distinct (and important) differences between using VoIP and virtual phone numbers. If you’re trying to decide between the two, keep reading.
One issue that arises with a number of VoIP systems is security. VoIP services use public Internet to route calls. Virtual PBX providers on the other hand use private data centers to enable calling over existing land or cell phone lines. This key difference gives virtual phone systems the security edge.
VoIP services like Skype strictly facilitate making and receiving calls without any extra bells and whistles. Virtual PBX systems are designed to help manage and evaluate calls with advanced features like call tracking, reports, conversation recording and call forwarding schedules. If you’re looking for a system that stores your call data for measuring marketing campaigns, conversions and customer service a cloud-based PBX is better suited for your business.
Cloud-based phone systems route incoming calls through third-party data centers to any existing phone, whereas a with a VoIP system you can make and receive calls. If you already have a phone for outbound calls and just want a way to receive calls without giving out your personal number then virtual phone systems are ideal. If you need a way to make and receive calls a VoIP system will help you do both.
Phone Number Selection
If you need to establish local, toll-free and vanity phone numbers a cloud-based virtual calling service has an edge, particularly if you need to port existing numbers over to a new service. New numbers can easily be added or removed depending on your needs. By comparison, most VoIP services uses one stand-alone number that can’t be ported or transferred.
The biggest concern with VoIP is its dependence on the local Internet connection. If the power goes down or the connection is bad then calls can’t go through. Virtual hosted systems avoid these issues because everything is handled through a controlled data center. These data centers are usually safeguarded with backup power sources and plans for re-routing calls in the event of an outage.
Flexibility and Scalability
While they are both more scalable that traditional phone service, VoIP services that are in-house, preconfigured systems aren’t going to be as flexible as virtual phone systems. When phone service is cloud-based changes to the calling plan, features and phone numbers can be made in minutes. Nothing has to be configured or installed since everything is in the cloud. This also means your entire office could move, and it won’t affect your incoming calls.
Price PointsBoth cloud-based PBX systems and VoIP are cheaper than traditional wired service, but VoIP is typically the more expensive option between the two. That’s because it’s a bit more complex with calls going both ways.
We thank Michael Ramirez of HostedNumbers.com for this guest post contribution.
Edited by Cherie L. Steffen