Best Business VoIPReviewAdviceFAQ's

Best VoIP for Small Business of 2016

We review the top VoIP phone systems for small business

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Best VoIP Phone System

When it comes to communication, businesses of all sizes still rely on phone calls in order to make contact with clients, customers, and other companies. While many people these days are turning to the internet in order to communicate with others, this does not have the same personal touch as actually speaking to someone and having a discussion.

Of course, telephone communication has been a vital part of the business world for many decades. However, changes have occurred as a result of advanced technology and these days many companies are turning to Voice over IP or VoIP. There are a number of trusted business VoIP providers that allow you to place calls via the internet.

This is a system that allows spoken communication to occur over the internet rather than with a traditional phone, and for businesses it provides the added benefit of being far more cost effective. It has also become a more convenient and simple means of communicating, as contact can be made via the computer that you are working on rather than having to go from the computer to the phone.

There are a number of providers that offer reliable business VoIP. In order to ensure you are able to select the most suitable service and provider for your business, it is important to conduct some research. By looking at what the various providers are able to offer in terms of features and benefits, you can more easily make an informed decision with regards to which business VoIP service you will choose for your company.

Best Business VoIP: What to Consider

There are a number of factors that you should take into account when you are looking at VoIP providers for your business. By doing this, you can quickly work out which service and provider you want to use for your business needs, which in turn means that you can start enjoying the many benefits that come from using this technology. Some of the factors that you should take into account include:

  • The details of the plan, including factors such as contract lengths, allocated minutes, and customization
  • The key features of the plan you may be considering
  • The reliability of the network
  • User reviews and reputation of the provider
  • Cost of the service
  • Levels of support and assistance available

By taking these factors into account when you are looking for a suitable business VoIP provider, you can boost the chances of finding the right plan and provider at an affordable price.

Our findings tell us RingCentral Business VoIP, Nextiva, and offer the best VoIP business phone service when it comes to plan options, reliability and key features. For more details, have a look through articles on VoIP business phone service.

Other Important Business VoIP Considerations

Bandwidth Limits - Since VoIP systems operate over your broadband connection, your bandwidth and Internet speeds will affect your VOIP system and how well it functions. Check your Internet speeds before ordering. You may find you need to upgrade first, depending on how much Internet usage your system already has now.

Hardware Requirements - Many services supply you with everything you need to set up your system, but you may want something extra. Although new hardware may offer some new options, you can do without the hardware on some VOIP systems. You will need to get some software, though, for what is called a "softphone," and you will need a headset with microphone. It only needs to be connected to your computer. Getting a softphone license for users will be much cheaper than going with IP phones, which often start out at around $200 and go over $800 each. Analog phones can be used in some areas of your business for internal communications, letting you cut down further on costs.

The Time and Cost of Switching - There are situations that can make switching to VoIP more difficult than you want it to be. Talk it over carefully with the VOIP provider so that you understand all that is needed. It depends largely on the equipment used, your connectivity, the size of the system needed, and the many options you want. You will also need to ensure that your computer network can handle the added data flow. Don't forget, too, that your employees will need to be trained on how to use the new equipment. You might install it first in your conference room for training purposes and let them use it for practice and to get accustomed to it before deploying it company-wide.

Vulnerable to Hacking? Because it works through the Internet, VoIP systems can be hacked. This means that a hacker could potentially listen in on your calls, or use up your calling minutes for international calls if you buy them. To ensure this is not apt to be a problem, talk to your VOIP company to find out what security measures they use to protect you. Many have robust security protocols.

Power Outages - Because your VoIP system would be dependent on your internet connection, a power outage will knock out your phones. This is a good reason to have a landline as a backup. Even when power fails, an ordinary landline will usually continue to operate. It has a separate power system. It is also a good idea to know how to call 911 if the need should arise.

Remote Connections - Many VoIP providers are able to connect seamlessly to smartphones, tablets and laptops, but not all of them. If you need this capability, be sure that the VOIP company can answer all questions about it. You also want to check to see how easily the system can be expanded to add new phone numbers as employees are added to your business. Costs will vary between companies when adding new phones.

Meet the Best Business VoIP Providers

Here is a closer look at these top companies and the VoIP systems that they offer:

RingCentral Review

  • Pros
  • Range of plans for greater flexibility
  • No contract for added flexibility
  • Unlimited calls and internet faxing for Canada and USA
  • Two server locations to ensure no interruption
  • Excellent levels of customer support
  • Cons
  • Provider charges on a per user basis

The phone systems offered by RingCentral will work with a variety of phones, including traditional, phones for VoIP systems, and mobile. It will also work with headsets connected directly to computers, giving companies a system that will allow about anyone to make or receive calls. Many options are available to ensure that businesses have all they need for everyday business calling options. Among their many available features, you can find: call forwarding, call screening, music while on hold, conference calling, paging, notifications for missed calls, an auto receptionist, and more. Businesses can also take advantage of the online account management system to set up extensions, control mobile devices, view call logs, and set up voicemail.

Plans are available that provide a limited number of minutes, and how many people can get in on a meeting - 4, 25, or 50. It can handle any business size, ranging from companies with 1 employee up to 500+. Systems can be integrated with Salesforce, Zendesk, and RingCentral offers service within the United States.

Nextiva Review

  • Pros
  • Services that are ideal for small and larger businesses
  • No activation fees and no contract necessary
  • Wide range of plans available
  • Discounts offered for a higher number of extensions
  • Ten server locations and a redundant network to increase reliability
  • Cons
  • Will need higher level plans for advanced features
  • No service level agreement to back up claims of 99.9 percent reliability

Nextiva also chose to use the cloud for its services, enabling customers to use systems they already have. They specialize in offering services to small businesses. Their services include options such as unlimited calling, free numbers – local and toll-free, conference calling, unified messaging, voicemail, on-hold messaging, silent monitoring capabilities, and more. Nextiva also provides a mobile app that will enable employees to take advantage of their system's video, voice, and instant messaging functions. Emails, messages, conferencing, etc., are stored in the cloud so that they can be accessed anytime. Because the system operates entirely from the cloud, it can be set up in minutes. A really nice feature about it is that there are no contracts involved, no hidden fees, and customers can cancel at any time.

RingByName Review

  • Pros
  • A great range of contract options for greater flexibility
  • Easily integrated with commonly used business software systems
  • Servers in three locations and a redundant network for increase reliability
  • Month to month options available
  • 30-day money back gua
  • Cons
  • No service level agreement to back up service

RingByName is a Florida based business VoIP provider that specifically serves small to medium businesses. The company offers a variety of features in addition to what you would typically expect from a call service, including faxing and conference calling. Though other providers offer a wider range of features, their contract options and ease-of-use makes them a solid option.

8x8 Review

  • Pros
  • Flexible and varied plans
  • Ability to host virtual meetings
  • Choose your phone number
  • Cons
  • Service cancellations can be pricey

8x8 is another leading cloud-based business communications service in the US. They offer business phone services, unified communications and contact center solutions. They also offer seamless mobile applications that allow you to communicate in your business network whether you have one office or many.

8x8 also boasts a high level of security and reliability. They meet stringent security standards as stipulated by the HIPAA, FISMA and PCI.

Broadvoice Review

  • Pros
  • Affordable pricing
  • Good customer service
  • Bandwidth saver tool
  • Cons
  • Canceling the service can be expensive

Broadvoice is a personal and business VoIP provider that offers cloud-based communications and unified communications. Plus, their service is fairly affordable and competitively priced against other players in the industry. They also offer excellent international calling plans that are ideal if you have overseas offices or business partners.

Best VoIP Phone System

Although it depends on what you are looking for and how big your company is, it appears that Nextiva beats out the others in a couple of key areas. While all of them have lots of features, with having the most, Nextiva does not require any contracts and all pricing is upfront. All of them offer a 30-day free trial, and all of them are cloud-based. Not having to sign a contract gives a company the liberty to sign-up without fear and back out if it does not quite match their needs. Although it is not the biggest company, the fact that it claims to have been designed by over 1,500 engineers may reveal that they have even bigger plans for the future.

Business VoIP Advice

Buying business VOIP often contains some degree of trial and error because you often are not fully sure of what you need, or of the quality of service the company will provide. Taking a little time beforehand will save you a headache and help you get it right. Here are some tips from our advice guides that you will want to explore further.

  • What options are really necessary with a Business VOIP system? Companies that offer VOIP systems are adding a lot of options to their packages. Unfortunately, you may not need some of them but will pay for them anyway because they come in the package. Learn how to figure out what you really need with your VOIP system.
  • Do you know how VOIP systems can help your business? Maybe you are not sure. After all, there are many telephone systems out there. You may be wondering if VOIP is just a cute option or something you really can use in your business for an advantage. The current trends reveal that most businesses will end up switching to VOIP sooner or later. Before you order something you may not need, learn how VOIP systems can change your business. You may be pleasantly surprised!
  • Does VOIP offer some really must-have features that every business should not be without? The options that are now available in business VOIP systems are becoming more numerous. Some of them are much more useful than just another bell or whistle. Have you seen the latest VOIP options that you most likely need to have? They now go way beyond what phones normally do.
  • Is VOIP really a better system than a good telephone system? Staying with a standard phone system in your business, when compared to what VOIP can offer, is almost like dial-up Internet compared to high-speed Internet. Why stay with the old when the new has so much more to offer? Find out how VOIP is better in more ways than just the price.

Business VoIP Review Recap

With an increasing number of options available when it comes to both VoIP plans and provider, it has become increasingly important to do your research in order to find the ones that will most benefit your business. With the right VoIP plan and provider, you can benefit from affordable, reliable, and more personal communication with customers, clients, and other companies.

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Questions & Answers About Best Business VoIP

What is the difference between personal and business VoIP?

Personal and business VoIP have many similarities and a few key differences. Both have the same basic features and services like good sound quality, call forwarding, call waiting, low cost and increased portability. However, certain providers optimize their services for either businesses or individual use. VoIP services that focus on businesses offer things like new employee coaching tools and door buzzer intercom capabilities that individuals don't need. Plus, some providers may offer deals specific to businesses. If you are looking for VoIP for your business make sure you explore all the features that are offered by different providers. However, if you have a very small business, individual VoIP service might be all you need.

Why is VoIP cheaper than other telecommunications?

VoIP (or voice over IP) is an IP telephony system which means it is a telecommunications technology that transfers data digitally using IP addresses. VoIP is an alternative to traditional phone service and can be used within a closed network or over the internet. VoIP tends to be cheaper because it doesn't have many of the fees associated with traditional phone lines like maintenance costs and fees that cover the phone company's compliance with industry rules and regulations. For VoIP, there is no physical network infrastructure accepting your own computers and servers do there is no maintenance.

How has it evolved?

Previously, VOIP was restricted to computer-to-computer calling - not ideal for companies seeking a professional service for their employees. In addition, VOIP has now progressed to being available through traditional-style handsets allowing calls to be transferred – not just across the office, but to offices and colleagues around the globe – plus all the normal office functions for your VOIP phone.

What are the benefits of having a VOIP phone?

Many. Your company number is completely transportable – no need to change a familiar and well-known phone number. You could be travelling on the other side of the world and still receive calls from your clients at local rates to them. Just plug in your phone to a power outlet as usual and start making and receiving calls.

Are there any downsides?

Think of it like your wireless service. As long as you have a decent bandwidth (see recommendations in table below), you'll likely have excellent clarity and service, but with occasional incidents of dropped calls or poor call quality. You'll also be paying for incoming calls, but some services offer unlimited incoming calls for as little as $6 per month. The best advice is to ensure thorough research on a supplier's track record before signing on the dotted line.

Is VOIP a good option for my company?

In the changing face of business, VOIP can add greater flexibility to your workforce. You could have a New York City head office with a local phone number, but outsource your staff to Tennessee – with the same NYC phone number – and save on office rent and salaries. VOIP also gives the option of working from home for some roles; studies show that employee efficiency actually increases when working at home. If a valued and trusted colleague has to move across the country for personal reasons, you can choose to keep them, thereby retaining valued staff members which is a cost saving in itself.

Should VOIP completely replace the existing landlines?

One argument against replacing all landlines is that VOIP is dependent on both a reliable internet connection and electrical power. Corded telephones, on the other hand, receive their power through the phone line and usually would work when the electrical grid is out during an emergency.

What are the start-up costs?

The cost of the hardware varies, with wholesalers offering corded, 9-line VOIP phones from $160. Phones can go up to $700 for the total song and dance video phones, and there are cordless wifi options too, from $150 to $1200 depending on the model, ideal for frequent business travelers - no need to find a physical router to plug into.

What about the ongoing charges?

This will depend on the size of your business and what packages you choose. However as a guide, small businesses can expect to pay between $10 and $30 per month for contracts with 100 to 1000 minutes, including local number, unlimited user extensions, international dialing, call queuing and other features you'd expect to find in an office landline system. Bigger businesses should anticipate monthly bills of $25 per extension for high-volume call roles, e.g. call-center staff or telephone sales.

What speed bandwidth is required?

This depends on the number of concurrent calls you want to make. The table below shows the minimum bandwidth required to make calls from a standard account, as well as recommended speeds for optimal performance. Most internet providers will price packages in terms of maximum speeds, to check your computer's actual upload and download speeds use a speed test website.

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Advertiser Disclosure

In order for MoneySavingPro to remain a consumer free service, many of the companies covered in our industry reviews compensate MoneySavingPro for new sign ups.

However, the results of our comparison tools, the rankings of the providers and the information presented is not affected by compensation. Indeed, many of these companies approach us for an advertising partnership after we have already written a published their reviews.

While we try to research and review as many providers as possible in the 100+ industries we cover, we have not reviewed every company available.

Our rating system is independent of compensation and reflects our true understanding of the industry and the company based on a variety of factors. The companies that receive the highest rating will always be the providers that we believe offer the best value to the consumer.

Advertiser Disclosure

In order for MoneySavingPro to remain a consumer free service, many of the companies covered in our industry reviews compensate MoneySavingPro for new sign ups.

However, the results of our comparison tools, the rankings of the providers and the information presented is not affected by compensation. Indeed, many of these companies approach us for an advertising partnership after we have already written a published their reviews.

While we try to research and review as many providers as possible in the 100+ industries we cover, we have not reviewed every company available.

Our rating system is independent of compensation and reflects our true understanding of the industry and the company based on a variety of factors. The companies that receive the highest rating will always be the providers that we believe offer the best value to the consumer.