If you've been following the first two parts of our 3-part series on the basics of VoIP, you should now have a comprehensive understanding of what VoIP telephony is and how it works. The next obvious step, then, is to move forward with plans to upgrade your hotel's communications system. In order to do so, though, you need to take steps to ensure that your network is entirely ready for VoIP so that the transition is as smooth and seamless as possible. So how can you be sure? Talking with your service provider and answering the following questions will enable you to adequately evaluate your network and choose the right phone system.
How Many Users Exist Within the Network?
Awareness of your system's user demands is not only important in terms of selecting the right equipment, but also in determining the correct network service for your day-to-day business requirements. The more users that exist within the network, the more bandwidth and/or network services that will be required.
What Are Your Plans for Future Growth and Scaling?
Any good business owner knows how important it is to think ahead. This is especially true when making major upgrades to your communications system. If you don't have any reason to believe that you'll have more than 50 users on your network within the next several years, there's no reason for you to invest in a network that accommodates a higher volume of users. If, on the other hand, you expect the business to grow and expand, you may want to invest in intelligent networking now so that your services won't suffer down the line.
How Many Ports Will be Needed per User?
Your hotel's switch ports per user will dictate the types of phones you can purchase. If you have only one port per user, you'll have to select from phones with an internal switch. Those that can offer users a separate phone switch port can improve system reliability while providing users with the option of purchasing a wider range of phones. Hotels with a standard SIP server will have the ability to choose from any available SIP-compliant VoIP phones.
What Type of Internet Connection Do You Use?
Your internet connection makes a huge impact in determining the type of service provider that will be required for phone service. VoIP demands high upload speeds. You'll find that this is not common of basic, low-cost Internet plans. If your connection is spotty or is a bit on the slow side, you'll want to talk to your provider about the demands of the phone system that you are planning on upgrading to. This will ensure that the minimum requirements are made for reliable service.
Do Any Remote Users Need to Be Considered?
Some hotels have off-site employees who answer calls during low-demand hours in order to allow for bookings and customer service around-the-clock. If this is the case, you'll need to consider the impact that remote users may have on the speed of your connection and your network. Failure to do so could mean that your network suffers from audio quality issues or poor connections through the internet. Simply increasing or decreasing the bandwidth needed for each call can remedy these issues.
Upon working through the answers to these questions with your IT team and your phone provider, you can start to take the final steps toward upgrading your phone network. You're finally ready to embrace the most important technological upgrade made to hotel communications systems in decades. What are you waiting for? Give PhoneSuite a call today to start the process of making the switch.