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Onecom blog post

Switching to VoIP: Where to Begin?

Onecom

25% of UK businesses are unaware of the ISDN switch off. With a hard deadline on the horizon, now is the time for businesses to ditch their landline and switch to VoIP.

Why Should You Switch to VoIP?

The reason to switch to VoIP is that in 2025, BT will switch off its ISDN network. Any business still using an ISDN phone system still using will lose support. Yet, despite this, not all businesses are aware of the switch off.

25% of businesses aren't aware of the ISDN switch off, despite BT making the announcement back in 2014.

TalkTalk

Businesses that switch to VoIP also enjoy a range of benefits by adopting this new technology, including increased cost-saving, greater flexibility, better customer service, and easier maintenance.

Preparing to Switch to VoIP?

Before looking into tech and hardware, you need to think about three things when considering a move to a new phone system:

  1. Business goals
  2. Budget
  3. Technology partner

1. Business goals

What are you trying to achieve by switching to VoIP? Are you simply trying to preserve business continuity, or are there other factors in play? Do you want to offer more personalised customer experiences, or free up IT resources for other projects? 

VoIP phone systems open the door to a variety of opportunities for businesses. They're just one example of how important technology is in business growth.

2. Budget

Upgrading your phone system to VoIP means looking at more than just the price tag. Depending on your deployment and your needs, capital outlay can vary greatly. With a hosted solution and only ten lines, your outlay could range from nothing to ten handsets and a network upgrade. With an on-premise system, the outlay will be much greater. 

How will you deploy your VoIP system?

Deployment options impact cost, so understanding your options is key to effective budgeting.

  • Cloud-based. Your VoIP system is hosted on the cloud. We call this cloud telephony.
  • On-premise. You trade increased maintenance and infrastructure costs for full control over security and management.
  • Hybrid. Hybrid phone systems are a scaled scenario where you have new IP telephony and an existing PBX setup. Hybrid systems can be costly, but allow for a longer-term migration

3. Engage a partner you trust

The technology that sits behind a VoIP or cloud-based telephony system is the same no matter which vendor or brand you choose. Vendors, by contrast, can vary significantly.

Your business is a moving vehicle. It requires minimal downtime and maximum business continuity. So, it’s important to work with a technology partner that understands this and can implement your new technology seamlessly.

If you’re looking to engage a new vendor or managed communications supplier, take care to include questions around experience in these areas. When it comes to technology implementation, it isn’t always about the price – it’s about the quality of service and expertise on hand.

How to Switch to VoIP

With your strategy in place and your provider chosen, you're ready to switch to VoIP. 

  1. Set up your new phone features. Deploy call forwarding, queuing, conferencing bridge, and other new features offered by your VoIP solution.
  2. Choose your hardware. Equip your office with the best VoIP hardware for your business – from VoIP desk phones to Bluetooth headsets and VoIP softphones.
  3. Train your staff. Educate your key staff on how to use your new system. In particular, make sure they understand and use the new features available to them.
  4. Install your VoIP phone system. Work with your tech partner for a fast and effective installation strategy. For SMBs, it could be as simple as plugging in a few phones. For a larger office with multiple switches, it can be an entire managed project. Connect your VoIP phones to a network switch with Ethernet cables (CAT 5 or CAT 6). For non-PoE setups, you also need to plug in the included AC adapters.

Switching to VoIP FAQs

What is VoIP?

VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. It means using the internet to make phone calls instead of using copper wire and traditional phone lines.

Is Switching to VoIP the Same as Switching Cloud Telephony?

No. How you deploy your VoIP system will determine whether your new system is cloud-based or not. On-premise or hybrid VoIP deployments are not cloud-based and so not considered cloud telephony.

Can You Use a Normal Phone with VoIP?

Yes. By using a VoIP adapter, you can plug your normal phone into your router or modem and enjoy all of the benefits of VoIP telephony.

How Do I Transfer My Landline to VoIP?

Transferring (or porting) your landline number to VoIP will be handled by your provider. If the number is in service, most providers will be able to make the switch for you.

When Do You Need to Switch to VoIP?

BT's ISDN switch off is due in 2025, so you need to get your business phones moved to another solution by then at the very latest. In our experience, other business needs drive the switch to VoIP, from improving customer experience to upgrading legacy systems to preserve business continuity. So, the time to switch varies by business circumstances.