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Evaluate Weigh the pros and cons of technologies, products and projects you are considering.

What are the use cases for a VoIP telephone system vs. regular telephone services?

Harvey Betan discusses the most common use cases for VoIP systems and the strengths and weaknesses of VoIP in this expert response.

What are the common use cases for VoIP?
People either love or hate VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) telephone systems. A few years ago, organizations were looking for ways to cut costs, and because VoIP technology allows voice to travel over existing network lines, it became popular in many environments. New telephone equipment providing the ability to connect to the network soon appeared on desks, replacing the standard telephone. Some users of VoIP say the signal and quality is superior to standard telephone, but others disagree. Regardless, VoIP telephony began to take hold in many organizations.

One strength of a VoIP system is its cost savings. People who oppose VoIP have a different view of its cost savings....

And with any product, you should look at each vendor's offerings and price schedule. Then select features that match your needs and look for flexibility in a vendor so you can configure the phone to match your environment. Also, only purchase features for your organization. I leave the particular packages to the vendor, since their products, features and pricing is fluid and dynamic.

The main weakness in VoIP telephone systems results from their need for electrical power. Standard phones do not require electricity. Therefore, when there is a power issue in the company, the phones still work. This could be easily remedied by having a UPS either at each desk or have the VoIP phone plugged into a socket serviced by a UPS. For some that modifies the cost structure, so it is an individual decision. Another issue I see is that VOIPs may run on the network, therefore any vulnerability, such as any denial of service, network virus, etc. might impact your telephone service as well.

This was last published in March 2010

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