57% of small- to medium-sized business (SMB) owners are apprehensive about the reliability of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service providers available today, according to a recent survey by Switchvox, a leading provider of capable PBX phone systems for SMBs.

The online survey also found that 33% of SMBs are concerned about the quality of calls when using VoIP services. 76% of respondents were open to testing out VoIP, as long as a service level guarantee was in place. The survey highlights key industry concerns and the need for VoIP providers to offer reliable,
quality services.

“It can be overwhelming for companies looking to change from traditional analog phone systems to VoIP services. With a few helpful hints, companies can take advantage of the ease of use and cost savings VoIP provides, without draining their wallets for consulting fees,” said Joshua Stephens, CEO of Switchvox. “Our experts have come up with some key items to look for and be aware of before switching to a VoIP system.”

In response to its survey, Switchvox recommends SMBs follow the below tips before implementing a new VoIP communications system:

  1. Find a reliable VoIP provider: Every day there are more VoIP service providers throwing their hat into the ring. Make sure to research specific information on their services and capabilities before signing up. It’s recommended to look for carriers that are responsive when contacted and will offer a service level agreement guarantee.
  2. Know your bandwidth capabilities: Make sure to track how many simultaneous phone calls a company’s broadband connection can handle. One rule to use is that each call will use 100 kilobits of bandwidth. Therefore, if an SMB has 1.5 megabits of upstream bandwidth, it will be able to place at most 15 phone calls with no other Internet traffic.
  3. Get a static IP from your ISP: Many small businesses run into trouble rolling out VoIP when they discover that their Internet connection does not provide a static, unchanging IP-address. Having a static address is a necessity for such tasks as peering two offices together for free phone calls, or having remote extensions for offsite employees.
  4. Investigate Quality of Service (QoS): QoS is the ability for a router to prioritize certain types of traffic (like phone calls) over other traffic (like big downloads). Make sure routers can perform QoS, and be prepared to configure it to prioritize VoIP traffic.
  5. Get the right equipment: For a home user, a single-line analog telephone adapter (ATA) is a reasonable purchase, but if users are performing multiple simultaneous VoIP calls, a VoIP-capable PBX system is recommended. Also make sure that any new VOIP-enabled PBX purchased, can work with existing phone services. A system that allows you to migrate to VOIP slowly, rather than jumping in all at once is preferable.

According to analyst firm IDC, the overall VoIP market is projected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 45% to reach a revenue base of $15.2 billion by 2007.

Switchvox’s PBX solution allows SMBs to create and manage their phone system, using VoIP services, as well as established analog lines. Switchvox is sold as a turnkey solution that includes the server hardware and pre-installed Switchvox software. Because Switchvox is built on open source software, it can be used worldwide without many of the compatibility issues associated with other PBX systems. Further information on Switchvox can be found at http://www.switchvox.com.

About Switchvox

Switchvox is a leading provider of PBX and VoIP phone systems for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The company’s flagship product enables SMBs to easily and affordably create and manage their phone system, using traditional analog lines, as well as VoIP services. Based on Linux and other open source software, Switchvox has created software products that fit business and consumer needs. Headquartered in San Diego, California, more information on the company can be found at www.switchvox.com.