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Internet connectivity, IP network cabling, and VoIP are some common technological solutions found in many companies today. For example, companies deploy voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) telephone systems in order to avoid traditional phone systems, which tend to be quite expensive. With the help of IP network cabling, VoIP easily glues together telecommuters and remote offices under a unified system. The system basically combines two aspects of telecommunications – voice telephony and data networks. This has led to the emergence of a completely different system that relies on the ability to convert spoken words into mere digital signals, allowing communication companies to lower the cost of calls by a major factor. However, the process isn’t as simple as it seems and there are numerous challenges that need to be solved before VoIP and IP networking get a strong foothold.
Benefits of VoIP and IP Network Cabling to Companies
VoIP helps companies enhance productivity, save money, and get better solutions to connect multiple office systems in a seamless manner. Since VoIP is generally a subscription-based service, the advantage is that it is cheaper than traditional phone lines. Businesses are only billed on a monthly basis. Their connections allow remote offices to operate through one network, eliminating long-distance fees. VoIP comes with network switches, which enhance quality of service (QoS). The main purpose of QoS is to prioritize data traffic over voice traffic. This means that a person will not be interrupted when making a call even when a different person on the same network is downloading or printing a file.
Points to Consider Before Opting for VoIP
- Estimates: Start by analyzing your current bill to get a good estimate of the number of minutes your business uses per month. For example, if you talk for 1,000 minutes, choosing a plan with 1,000 minutes does not make sense, though an unlimited plan will. Hence, dissecting your usage is important to choose the best service for your needs.
- Savings: The main purpose of VoIP is to help businesses save money. However, here again, you need to consider your usage. Is the service fulfilling your needs? Or are you paying more than you should for something that you or your company doesn’t even use?
- Expansion: A good system should grow with your business. Ideally, you want a system with additional capacity rather than repeatedly upgrading the system. Again, assessment is of critical value. What are your growth statistics? Do you expect to achieve certain milestones soon? If there are no immediate plans to expand, paying extra for the VoIP services is useless.
The cost of IP network cabling cannot be delineated so easily. There are multiple methods that you can use to figure out a basic estimate. One way is to use the square-foot method. Usually, the installation company has records that allow them to give you a basic cost per foot, which you can then use to arrive at the total cost.
- The basic installment of an IP network cable costs between $2 and $3 per foot.
- Cabling for technology-intensive applications may cost an addition $40 to $50 per foot. However, you do need to understand that that the cabling is a one-of-a-kind technology and worth the cost.
- Installation in high-rise buildings ranges between $5 and $6 per square foot. Pricing for the VoIP plan itself varies by both provider and plan. Estimating these charges is impossible without knowing your exact needs, but the following estimates should help with budgeting.
- A domestic plan averages between $20 and $50 per month. This plan does not allow the business to make international calls. Plans at the low range typically include a certain number of minutes each month, while plans at the high end usually offer unlimited minutes.
- International plans average between $50 and $100 per month.
- One-time activation fees range between $30 and $50. This is in addition to your provider's monthly fees.
- A VoIP package including five extensions, installation, software, handset systems, and training ranges from around $2,000 to $5,000, depending on features and minutes chosen.
- The same package for 15 extensions ranges from $15,000 to $20,000.
- A VoIP package for 30 extensions costs between $15,000 and $50,000 depending on features and minutes.