VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol)
Telephony is changing for the better for businesses as well as the consumer, VOIP technology which stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol uses the internet or private data networks to transport voice conversations and video communication point to point for a fraction of the cost of using regular public PSTN phone lines. Also the cost to a business for the hardware and software is a lot cheaper than it has been, no longer is there the need for a PABX telephone switch costing potentially thousands of pounds.
VOIP PBX Server
If you have a number of office phones you may want to adopt a VOIP Server. The server will communicate with all VOIP Phones on your network and provide added functionality such as Voicemail Messaging, Dialling by Name, Call Forwarding, Caller ID, Call Waiting, Do Not Disturb, Remote Call Pick Up, Voicemail to Email, VOIP Gateway and many other features listed here. You can also download apps for your Smartphone which will allow you to use it as a wireless telephone extension whilst in the office. A single VOIP PBX will easily serve 50 plus telephone extensions, if many more are needed then choose either a multi-core PBX server or link two or more PBX servers together. Click the ICT Installations tab on the get a quote page for VOIP PBX Server prices.
A VOIP Gateway acts as a bridge between private VOIP phones and the public PSTN telephone network. One or more phone lines can be seized by a VOIP phone and used to connect to an outside line. Alternatively you can subscribe to a VOIP service such as Skype to make calls over the internet and hop out onto the public PSTN phone network at the target phones local exchange, this means all external calls are made at local call rates. A business would normally subscribe to a number of SIP Trunks which when linked to your VOIP Phone system can provide both incoming and outgoing lines.
USB VOIP for Windows or Apple Mac
A simple low budget solution for one or two users, the VOIP hardware is connected to your PC or Laptop via a USB connection and you use software such as Skype to make calls to your contacts or make calls to any phone via the internet. The downside to this is that the phone is only available while the computer is switched on.
A way to save money on new phone hardware is to convert your existing phones into VOIP phones with ATA's (Analogue Terminal Adapters). These are small box devices that your old phone can connect through and allows it to work as a VOIP Phone, it will most likely have less features available though depending on how sophisticated the ATA device is.