Finding a business phone service provider in Virginia can be confusing at times. But it is a very important first step when you are a business owner, whether you are just starting up or have been in business for years. The telephone is still the first form of communication most customers and vendors go for when they want to get in touch with a business, especially if that business happens to be further away. You need a phone service that is both affordable and reliable, so before you make the decision of what company to go with, do your research. There are two main phone service providers that you can choose from, either a traditional analog service or the newer VoIP phone service. You should understand just what the difference is between the two before you make your final decision. You can compare below the difference between these two types of providers.
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What is Business VoIP Service in Virginia?
VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol, and it is the most advanced type of phone service available in Virginia. VoIP phone service offers business customers an alternative to using the traditional Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) with an analog line. VoIP has been around for over a decade. In the last few years, the service has become more popular as more businesses are making the switch from PSTN to VoIP.
The main difference between PSTN and VoIP is the way in which the calls are carried. A PSTN service offers an analog signal to carry the call, while a VoIP digitizes the calls and carries them through the internet. Before choosing a VoIP service you must make sure that your internet service can handle the bandwidth required. You can use the Wirefly Internet Speed Test to check this. Sending and receiving data from the internet is much cheaper than using the phone network, and if you make frequent long-distance or international calls your phone bill can rise very quickly. However, with VoIP service you will find that the cost of each call is significantly lower to that of a PSTN provider. As well as offering a significantly cheaper service, many VoIP providers also offer a flat-rate package that allows you to make unlimited calls to certain locations without worrying about per-minute charges.
There are many features regularly included in business VoIP service plans. Most Virginia providers offer the regular PSTN services such as multiple extensions and caller ID's, as well as offering other interesting features like remote access to voicemail, ring groups, fax-to-email, call forwarding and many other useful add-ons that will ensure that you get the best service for your business's needs.
VoIP service providers offer many different plans. Whether you are a small company with only five lines, or a large corporation with hundreds of extensions, there is likely a VoIP service provider in Virginia that will offer you a plan that is suited to your needs and budget.
Picking Out a VoIP Carrier for Your Virginia Business
Now that VoIP has become a favorite with business owners, a lot of carriers are ready to fight for your attention. On first glance this may make it seem hard to pick out a specific provider, but you can in fact benefit from this.
The first step is to take into account your needs in relation to a professional phone system. Think about things like how many extensions you'll require, what functions you'll have to use day by day, whether you expect to expand your company in the coming months, and what your budget is for business telephone service.
After that, you can search for plans from the numerous commercial VoIP companies in Virginia. Scope out the plans they have, how much they cost, and the company's industry standing in general. Keep in mind that functional telephone service is vital to your company's profitability, so try to select a vendor that has established itself positively in terms of dependability and customer support.
Understanding Traditional Business Phone Service in Virginia
Traditional phone services carry all calls over the PSTN, which is the public switched telephone network. The PSTN network is what has been in use for about a hundred years and was the very first phone network to be used. It is available all over the country and is made up of satellites, cables, telephone lines and mobile networks. Most customers think of this type of service when they are considering a business phone service, only because it is what they are used to.
However, a PSTN phone service can cost more in Virginia than VoIP service. This is mostly due to the fact that the PSTN infrastructure is old and requires ongoing maintenance to it. Since PSTN is analog, it makes it harder to send data over longer distances.
Making a long distance call with PSTN means that the data sent will have to make numerous stops at locations along the way. Data flows through equipment that is owned by a number of different companies, causing this type of call to be more expensive. While much of the infrastructure that is used to carry, switch and route the telephone calls is completely digital, the “last mile', as it is known, is still an analog connection made between the customer and the local central office.
Using a PBX With An Analog Phone System in Virginia
Most Virginia businesses use a private branch exchange, called a PBX, to route the numerous calls they receive. Having a business phone service in place enables the PBX to allow for the use of such important calling features beyond sending and receiving calls, such as multiple extensions, voicemail, call forwarding and conference calls.
Using a traditional PSTN phone system, the PBX either be located on the business's premises, or situated at a remote location. But no matter where the analog PBX is located, its operation can prove very expensive. Setting up a complete business phone system using a PBX requires the purchase of various types of hardware that usually means an investment of at least $1,000. Beyond that initial investment are the costs for installation, configuration and maintenance. A business owner will need to either have an in-house technical staff member handle these chores, or hire an outside professional, translating to costs of $100 an hour or more.
Know that upgrading and expanding a traditional PBX system for your Virginia business phone service needs may prove expensive as well as challenging. Many PBX systems can only support a limited number of lines. As your business grows, you will have to pay for more hardware, installation and maintenance costs when adding more extensions.
PBX systems, like other types of electronic hardware, are subject to frequent problems and breakdowns that can adversely affect your business communications, usually at the most inopportune times. Be prepared to pay for expensive repair and hardware replacement costs whenever anything goes wrong with your PBX. Any PBX system also becomes obsolete over time and needs to be updated or replaced, adding additional expenses to your business' bottom line.
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