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What are the benefits of a VoIP product? Is it advisable for SMBs to invest in these?

Should SMBs invest in VoIP products?

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The benefits of a Voice over IP (VoIP) product for a small- to medium-sized business (SMB) environment that already has the basic infrastructure capable of supporting the technology are flexibility, ease of use, and deployment and management savings. Some of the sales pitches for VoIP may also say that clarity is another benefit; however, that will vary with solutions, configuration and deployment.

VoIP products range from large ultra-scalable solutions to low-end ones. Some common examples of VoIP products are Skype and Vonage. But the key for figuring out whether or not an SMB should invest in one is determining if your network infrastructure is ready and capable of handling additional traffic, because VoIP generates more activity on your network. If your infrastructure is ready and capable of supporting VoIP without negatively impacting Quality of Service (QoS) for other applications, then the investment might be a good choice for you. On the other hand, you may be forced into an upgrade sooner than expected. In that case, look at the investment payback or ROI. But ultimately, you need to ask yourself if you need a VoIP and if you want it.

For more on VoIP products and communication systems:

This was first published in March 2010

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