VoIP Frequently Asked Questions: Why Businesses Should Switch to VoIP Phones

Originally posted on October 8, 2020 @ 6:54 pm



Interwest Communications doesn’t just configure, install, train for, and maintain business phones, data networks, and security systems—  You’ve got VoIP questions, and we have answers. This powerful technology has revolutionized telecommunications, but with it, there are quite a few questions too. Continue reading to find answers, and why your business should switch to Interwest’s VoIP PBX.

What is VoIP?

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, and it’s basically technology that allows for phone calls over the internet rather than through a traditional phone line.

Types of Business Phone Systems

How is VoIP different from traditional phones?

A traditional phone line converts sound waves into an electrical signal and back again, sending that signal across an electrical line. A VoIP system works by converting a voice into a digital signal, and transmitting that signal over a broadband line, along with other information. It’s more efficient, and can result in much higher quality of signal for much cheaper.

What are the pros compared to traditional phones?

VoIP phones have many advantages compared to traditional phones due to

1. Lower cost

2. Higher call quality

3. Portability

4. More features and versatility

1. VoIP has Low Cost Per Call

As the name suggests, VoIP telephone systems utilize Internet Protocol to make calls. Placing calls over traditional phone lines means that a line is taken up as long as the two callers are using it to communicate. Since there are only so many lines that can be installed, calls placed over landlines, especially if they are long-distance, are expensive. But using the Internet to relay call data circumvents this problem, making domestic and long distance calls cheaper overall.

2. VoIP has Excellent Call Quality

Today’s VoIP phone service has even surpassed traditional landline in terms of call quality

3. VoIP Service Mobility

On a traditional phone system, a line that runs to a home or business is assigned its own phone number.  With a VoIP phone system, there are no physical limitations. You have the freedom to move as your business demands without any added stress.

4.  VoIP Multi-Functionality

There’s more to VoIP than making and receiving calls. Modern VoIP systems incorporate other communication services like instant messaging, teleconferencing, and video conferencing. VoIP’s multi-features like video conferencing allow your employees don’t necessarily have to be physically present in the office. They instead can work from home or work from abroad. With VoIP, voicemail and faxes can be forwarded to your email. This also allows you to archive or forward messages.

These features and many more useful ones are available with VoIP phone systems. And because the service always goes with you, the features you find helpful can be added or subtracted with ease. In short, VoIP telephone systems grow with your business.


What are the cons compared to traditional phones?

  • Bandwidth dependent – If you have a slow connection, this can create issues with call quality.

  • Requires a seperate power supply – traditional phone lines provide power for the phone, and internet connections do not.

If VoIP uses the internet, is it secure?

Understandably, some businesses are hesitant about utilizing online based tools and resources for business, because of fears related to data loss and theft. If you follow the security protocols for an internet connection, you’re likely following the security protocols for VoIP as well.

With that in mind, it’s important to also think about overall network security and security systems. Firewalls and other precautionary measures are essential for business data security, and should be in place for any business that uses the internet for anything. You can learn more from our Network Security Checklist for Businesses about digital security threats and best practices to avoid them, or how to choose the best security system for your business.

What is a cloud- hosted VoIP?

Cloud-hosted VoIP is a service that is provided for a business from an external location, rather than created on-site. At Interwest Communications, we take the IT off your hands by hosting all the servers and technology required to make your phones work and connect, with five data centers that host our cloud-based phone system across the country for reliable customer operation. We also provide you with the phone system hardware, training and support you need to take your business phone system and communications to the next level.

Do I have to sign a contract?

This will depend on the provider, but usually switching to VoIP means signing a contract. Interwest can customize a plan to fit your business, or you can choose from one of our standard plans. Interwest is happy to help you navigate as you look for the best solution for your company— schedule a free phone bill audit.

What kind of internet/bandwidth does VoIP require?

Depending on the number of concurrent calls, there are minimum bandwidth requirements as well as a recommended speed for VoIP.

Kind of Bandwidth Required

Can I install VoIP myself?

If you’re tech-savvy, you’re likely able to do the installation yourself, but for more complicated setups, you’ll likely want to consult an expert. At Interwest, we provide a solid, stable, and scalable product line with an unmatched level of customer service and support by highly trained professionals. Contact us with any questions, comments, or concerns, we’re there when you need help. Our local technicians can assist 24/7, whether that means a visit out to your location or just a quick phone call.

If I lose the internet can I still use a VoIP phone?

VoIP is dependent on an internet connection, so if you lose internet, you’ll lose the ability to VoIP call, unless you’re connected to a cell data provider as well. However, if you’re using cloud-hosted VoIP, your automated attendant will still function normally and mobile applications will continue to field calls if connected to the cellular network.

Can I use a VoIP phone if the power is out?

An internet connection requires power, and since VoIP relies on an internet connection, if the power goes out, so will the VoIP phone. (Unless you have a backup generator system for your building, or a sufficient battery backup for network equipment.)

What else can VoIP be used for?

Besides calling, you can use VoIP for call waiting, faxing, voicemail, call forwarding, and instant and text messaging.

If I switch to VoIP, can I keep my number?

In general, yes, you can keep your phone number when you switch to VoIP. There are some instances where it may not be possible based on service area, but it is rare for numbers not to be portable to VoIP service.

What kind of phones work with VoIP?

Just about any kind of phone can work with VoIP, but it requires some knowledge of the capabilities of the phone. Standard SIP phone terminals from NEC, Poly, Yealink, Grandstream are all examples of supported telephones.

Analog Vs Digital Vs VoIP Infographic

What is a softphone?

A softphone is a software program that makes telephone calls over the internet using a computer rather than a dedicated phone line or piece of hardware.

What is a virtual phone?

A virtual phone is one that is not associated with a telephone line, instead using software applications to communicate over the internet.

What is a mobile VoIP?

Mobile VoIP uses a mobile phone’s network data or internet service connection to send voice calls as digital signals over the Internet.

Can I use both a VoIP and a traditional PBX?

In some cases, yes, but it’s usually recommended to acquire an IP PBX. This is a PBX system with IP connectivity and provides other features as well. With Interwest’s on-premise PBX, your calls are routed through a traditional phone company as well as through VoIP using SIP trunking. You purchase the telephone system equipment and bundled installation, and we configure, install, train and maintain this system for a low annual fee.

SIP Trunking in a VoIP System

What is SIP trunking?

SIP trunking is used to send voice and unified communications over the internet. Usually SIP trunking works with IP configured PBXs to retrace a traditional telephone line or PRI.


What are the features of VoIP?

VoIP offers a lot of potential, and when using it through Interwest, you get the following features:

  • Call control

  • Collaboration

  • Mobility

  • Call management

  • Voicemail

  • Messaging

  • Contacts

  • Web-based management

  • Call training

  • Integrations

  • A contact center

  • Analytics

  • Better call quality

  • Scalability

What are the benefits of VoIP for businesses?

VoIP provides many advantages for businesses over traditional PBXes. VoIP offers features and versatility that increase productivity and efficiency, with lower costs.

VoIP Means You Don’t Miss Out on Important Opportunities & Information

So long as you’ve internet access, you can use your VoIP system anywhere. VoIP allows you to make and receive calls from multiple devices, including your smartphone, ensuring that you can be contacted by customers or by colleagues wherever you are in the world.

A common worry that surfaces about VoIP is the fact that if the internet stops working, so does the ability to make calls. This doesn’t have to occur under the right circumstances. The truth is that call-forwarding, like other features in VoIP phone systems, is incredibly flexible. The capability to choose where your calls are forwarded, and how, means that you also don’t have to lose productivity because of local power outages or weather-related events. If the office phone can’t be answered, your mobile device or laptop can.

The ability to make and receive calls from multiple devices also means VoIP increases productivity by eliminating “phone tag”. With VoIP, phone numbers can be programmed to ring on multiple devices before proceeding to voicemail. This reduces the likelihood of employees and customers experiencing phone tag. Phone tag only leads to increased frustration, lost deals, reduced sales, and inhibits small businesses the capacity to grow.

VoIP is Efficient

In addition to forwarding calls to multiple devices before going to voicemail, you can forward messages and voicemail easily. If you receive an important message in a voicemail, you can forward that voicemail to three other people at the click of a mouse, and even read voicemail-to-text transcriptions that are sent directly to your email inbox.

With VoIP, answers to simple frequently asked questions can be programmed to serve customer calls after office hours. Holiday opening hours, regular opening hours and other important announcements can be programmed, providing your customers optimal service at all hours of the day and night.

With VoIP, calls can be recorded, allowing you and your colleagues to play back important calls, ensuring that important messages aren’t missed. With this modern phone system, you can also review call logs to determine what time of the day customers are calling the most, how long each call lasts and much more relevant information.

VoIP Keeps Your Business Secure

Compared to the traditional analog telephone connection, VoIP is much more secure. This modern phone system has standardized encryption protocols, making your calls and data secure – something that can’t be done on a regular telephone connection.

VoIP Reduces Costs

Operating costs for VoIP are significantly lower than the traditional phone companies. Your organization no longer has to maintain separate networks for data and phones. As VoIP allows you to take your office extension phone anywhere you go using a smartphone, this slashes your company’s mobile phone costs. VoIP handsets are even less expensive than traditional telephones.

VoIP significantly cuts down domestic and international calls. A VoIP number, to the person you’re calling or the person calling you to be so. For instance, customers and colleagues can call you at the local rate instead of the higher international rate as your virtual phone number appears to be within their local exchange even though it isn’t.

Since all calls use a converged data network instead of dedicated phone lines, creating and participating in conference calls are made much easier. Conference calls eliminate the need for employees who are on fieldwork to travel back to the office in order to attend a meeting or to discuss important matters with colleagues. Therefore, call conferencing can mean a significant reduction in travel cost, whether via company car or a plane. For virtual employees, conference calls also mean less cost related to recruiting, retraining, and office space.


Is VoIP right for your business?

Absolutely! If you operate a business in the 21st century, switching to VoIP is a fantastic idea, and Interwest Communications can help you make it happen. VoIP is included for both on-premise PBX, and our cloud-hosted PBX. Get in touch with one of our customer service representatives to get started!