BACKGROUND IMAGE: johnason/iStock
Voice over IP is an integral part of a unified communications strategy. The functionality offered by a combined VoIP and unified communications framework enables businesses to more effectively collaborate and communicate using technologies such as team chat, video conferencing and file sharing.
VoIP technology is available in three architectures -- on-premises, SaaS and hybrid. Large organizations generally opt for on-premises VoIP, as they usually have the data center and staff to manage and support the VoIP system and its security. Although the organization buys the VoIP communications server, session border controllers (SBCs) and phones upfront, over time, it only pays for its public switched telephone network service provider and vendor support plans.
Cloud-based VoIP is attractive to SMBs and companies with a large number of remote workers because of its low maintenance and operational costs. Here, the communications servers and SBCs reside in the public cloud, and the VoIP service provider handles the administration and security. The organization only pays for licensing.
The hybrid VoIP model is for organizations that don't fit into either architecture. The SBC still resides on the corporate LAN, but the business can take advantage of cloud-based administration and remote-user benefits.
Before selecting VoIP technology, you must first determine which architecture will work best for your company's size, budget and business needs. Also, is your organization migrating to a new telephony platform or is it implementing VoIP for the first time? Which features besides communications is your business looking for in a VoIP platform? Answering these questions can help you evaluate and select the product that will best address your VoIP and unified communications needs.
This buyer's guide can help your organization develop its voice and unified communications strategy. We examine what sets VoIP products apart -- including features, UC functionality, phone hardware compatibility and technical support -- and compare offerings from 10 industry-leading providers.