Are you a business owner who is in need of putting in a phone line for your office or building? If you are, you have more options than previous business owners did years ago. While we all love the use of social media to promote our business services, most customers still use the phone to call in orders, ask questions and voice concerns, to name just a few reasons. You will need a reliable, dependable phone service provider when you own or operate a business in Missouri, so understanding your choices is important before you make your final decision. You can choose between a VoIP or analog phone service when you are looking for a phone company that will work with your company. Understanding the differences and similarities first will help you make an informed and educated decision that will benefit your company for years to come.
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Business VoIP Phone Service in Missouri
The newest innovation in phone service is Voice Over Internet Protocol, commonly referred to as VoIP. VoIP provides Missouri area business customers with a quality alternative to old-fashioned analog phone lines. Since being introduced a little more than a decade ago, VoIP has become more mainstream, with more business owners choosing to adopt this style of phone service in favor of traditional PSTN service. VoIP is also the preferred business phone system choice for new companies, especially smaller businesses. Even though phone calls are transported over the Internet, users report that call quality with a VoIP service sounds the same as when using a traditional phone line. Maintaining a reliable call quality for VoIP, however, is dependent upon having a quality business Internet connection. The Wirefly Internet Speed Test can prove useful to check if your current Internet connection will supports VoIP telephone service.
How the phone calls are carried is the main difference between PSTN and VoIP service. PSTN service carries calls over an analog signal. VoIP calls are digitized and transmitted through your Internet connection. VoIP service is a lot more economical for most businesses who send data, with the cost of making and receiving calls considerably less than using a traditional phone network. This is important if your business makes and receives a large volume of long distance as well as international calls. Determine whether or not the provider you are considering offers a flat rate package allowing for an unlimited amount of calls to certain destinations rather than charging for calls by the minute.
You can order a Missouri business VoIP service with virtually any calling feature that benefits your business. These include multiple extensions, voicemail with remote access, caller ID, ring groups, fax to email, call forwarding and voicemail to email.
Most business VoIP providers serving the Missouri business community offer a variety of plans combining features that suit the needs of businesses depending upon their size. You may be a small start-up venture needing just half a dozen lines, or the national headquarters for a large corporation with thousands of extensions. In either case, or anywhere in-between, there is a VoIP service to meet your needs and your budget.
How to Choose the Right VoIP Service Provider in Missouri
Since VoIP has become more mainstream in Missouri, there are more and more companies popping up all over that offer their services to consumers. Use this to your advantage, as each company will have different features and rates that you can choose from.
You'll want to carefully consider what you want for your business first. Think about the number of extensions you will need, the features that your company will use the most, if you plan on expanding your company any time soon and what your budget for phone service is.
From there, consider the different companies in your area that offer VoIP phone services. Look at the features they offer and make sure they have what you want. Their prices and packages will be different, so make sure you find one that best suits your needs. However, you will want to make sure the company itself is reliable. Paying for cheap VoIP phone service won't be worth it if the company you choose has terrible customer service.
What is Traditional Phone Service in Missouri?
With traditional phone service, your calls will be carried over the PSTN, a nationwide system of cables, satellites, mobile networks and telephone lines. This analog system has been around for nearly a hundred years and it was the first of its kind when it first started. Using a PSTN telephone service in Missouri can be very expensive because of the size of the infrastructure involved and the cost of maintaining it.
If you plan on sending data over long distances a PSTN service might not be the best choice, as it is an analog system and as such, it has trouble sending data across long distances. This happens because the data will stop at different locations while being transmitted, not does this make it unreliable in long-distance transmissions but it also becomes expensive very quickly, as the data passes through different equipment that is most likely owned by different companies. Currently a lot of the network is digital; however, what is called “the last mile' –the connection between the local central office and the customer– continues to be analog.
PBX and the Analog Phone System in Missouri
Most Missouri businesses typically use a PBX, or a private branch exchange, that routes the calls that come into their office. The PBX is the system that allows the different calling features found in the analog system, such as call forwarding, voicemail, multiple extensions and conference calls.
With most traditional PSTN phone systems, the location of the PBX can be hosted from a remote location or found right at the user's premises. However, no matter where it is, an analog PBX can be very expensive. When you set up a complete phone system that needs a PBX, you will need different types of hardware that could cause your initial investment to cost at least $1,000. Remember, installation, configuration and future maintenance will not be part of your purchase price. If you have an in-house technical staff that can fix things later on, that would be beneficial to your finances. However, most business owners need to hire a professional, which usually costs at least a $100 an hour or more.
If you do decide to use a traditional PBX for your business phone needs in Missouri, remember that if you need to upgrade or expand later on, it can get expensive. Some PBX systems will only be able to support a small amount of lines. So if your business grows and expands, adding additional lines will mean paying for more hardware.
Unfortunately, a PBX system will also be subject to breakdowns and problems, just like any other electronic system. You may end up paying high repair and hardware bills if something happens to your system. Plus, if it becomes obsolete, you may need to replace it every couple of years, costing your company even more money.
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