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If you’re thinking about switching your business telephone service to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP, or phone service over the Internet), you might be wondering about the startup requirements. Will you need special hardware? What equipment will you need to make the switch?

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to setting up VoIP service. The primary need for any VoiP service is a high-speed Internet connection, which most companies already have in place. Typically, smaller businesses need only a minimal amount of additional equipment, especially for cloud-based VoIP where the servers are located offsite. If your business requires a larger premises-based service (PBX), you may need more hardware, more servers and additional infrastructure. Let’s look at a few of the more common scenarios.

Basic Cloud-Based VoIP

If you’re a small company looking to run VoIP off your existing Internet service, a simple cloud-based service will usually do the trick. You’ll only need to purchase VoIP-enabled telephone handsets (to match the number of desks in your office), along with an appropriate number of VoIP routers. If you have existing phones, you may be able to keep them in service by using analog telephone adapters (ATAs) to connect them to your VoIP service. If your company uses mobile phones, you can even configure virtual phone numbers to forward calls to them, skipping the handset entirely if you wish.

Softphone Software

Some businesses prefer to dispense with conventional phones entirely: They are running their VoIP service directly from their computers or mobile devices by way of a “softphone” app—a virtual telephone on their computer. For these configurations, you’d want to obtain an appropriate number of microphone/headset combinations to use in conjunction with the software.

Premises-Based (PBX) Service

For companies requiring a lot of telephone access, a cloud-based service might take up too much bandwidth for your Internet service to support. In such cases, we recommend installing a PBX VoIP service that runs from servers placed on premises—not entirely unlike setting up a conventional wired office phone system. If you have an existing LAN-server infrastructure, your VoIP service may be integrated into your current hardware.

When you’re ready to make the switch to VoIP, NetServ can provide a free evaluation to help you determine the configuration best suited to your needs. Give us a call at 1-877-NetServ to learn more.