4 Reasons Why You May Want To Reconsider Your VoIP Provider

January 02, 2018 by Alex Collins, IT Services Consultant

Rock, hard place. VoIP users might feel like they're wedged firmly between both.

On one hand, the ongoing migration from legacy landline services to IP-based systems feels like a sure thing. Telecoms providers have been busy phasing out landline services throughout the U.S., with landline-only households becoming a minority segment among phone users in 2016.

voip provider

But the market's praise for IP-based telephony isn't exactly unanimous. Perceptions of patchy call quality, incomplete compatibility with remaining legacy systems and overreliance on fragile Internet connections dog VoIP providers.

Which is unfair to those VoIP providers whose services have largely solved the issues behind these concerns. For every gripe in the following list of common complaints, you'll find a problem that's already been addressed:

Terrible call quality, in the form of jitter (scrambled-sounding voices) and latency (in the VoIP context, it refers to the time between speech on one end and hearing the sounds on the other) are problems most often cited by dissatisfied users.

These problems are the easiest to fix when they crop up: your VoIP provider can implement solutions like a jitter buffer to smooth out the scrambling, or tweaking the network to prioritize VoIP traffic over data, to cover both jitter and latency issues. When consulting with a VoIP provider, make sure that the contract includes satisfactory bandwidth and regular quality testing to forestall any bad calls in the future.

No 911 access. This perceived shortcoming may have its roots in a 2005 Texas lawsuit that ensued when a VoIP client couldn't get through 911 (which, at the time, needed to be specifically requested when signing up with one's provider).

The FCC now requires VoIP providers to meet Enhanced 911 obligations, which provide location information and callback numbers to emergency services personnel picking up a 911 call. When signing up for a VoIP service, the FCC recommends you disclose your physical address to the provider, ensuring the fastest response to your emergency call.

Billing issues. Many users assume that legacy systems' billing issues will carry over into their new VoIP services. And they're right to be suspicious; decades of dealing with complicated billing systems, frequent overcharging, and hard-to-reach customer service agents can be hard to shake off.

But that's hardly a fair comparison. VoIP services lack legacy hang-ups like bills with pages and pages of fine print, mysterious charges, and oddly-tiered service categories. Instead, providers often offer an improved customer service in more ways than one: for starters, with easy-to-understand billing via a single point of contact regardless of the service you've signed up for, combined with support that connects you with the organization's engineering staff within minutes of your call.

Lost Internet, lost dial tone. When your internet pipe goes down, it might take your VoIP line down too – at least that's the old perception. But business VoIP solutions now come with more robust systems offering multiple redundancies.

These failover options can come in many forms – backup copper connections and rerouting calls to cellular phones, among others. Your VoIP provider should offer system redundancy and call continuity features: if you're not sure it's part of the contract, there's no harm in asking.