Now I’m not advocating we pull our phone systems off the wall, put them outside and watch them run away !  I’m saying that with technology as it is suppliers can offer the ‘boxes’ for very little money.


Bursting the Bubble

No matter how the suppliers package their version of VoIP they are all basically derived from a standard PC, just like the one under / on your desk right now.  Clever programming fools the PC into thinking it’s a telephone system.  An operating system such as Linux is overlaid with a telephone program like Asterisk to produce the system. The size (how many extensions etc) is dictated by the power of the processor and the amount of RAM.  If voice recording is used the bigger the hard drive the more calls may be stored…..and that’s it folks !.


There are additions that can be bolted on such as analogue line cards or analogue extension ports, you could have a phone system that uses the internet for all outbound traffic and analogue lines for incoming calls which may also be used as drop-back, disaster recovery lines for outgoing calls if the Broadband fails, mission critical for Surgeries and Emergency services.


Rough Rule of Thumb to Costs

Unless you have a cracking broadband up-bandwidth, installations with more than five phones should have an on-site telephone system to keep the amount of bandwidth required by the phones to a minimum (see my previous blog).  For a basic system you have the cost of a PC plus software, lets say £200 for a new PC and £800 ‘contribution’ to the cost of developing the software, a total of £1000.00.  If you give the supplier the PC this should drop down to £800.00 and over the years as they re-coup the cost of development the overall cost could come down to the technician’s time to produce and set up the PC/Phone system. Obviously bolt-on bits like line / analogue extension cards will be an extra as would larger hard drives for call recording but the overall system should never be more than say £1000 to £2000 at the point of sale.


Having purchased your VoIP telephone system you need a PoE Switch (one port per phone plus one for the phone system and one for the Internet router) and some VoIP phones and you are virtually ready to go just add a qualified engineer to get it all going for you then say goodbye to renting phone lines and hello to an increased bottom line for your business !


Remember it’s not about the tech it’s about cost & support