What You Need to Know about a VoIP Phone System in Australia

What You Need to Know about a VoIP Phone System in Australia

With the old copper line phone network being retired across Australia as the nbn™ rollout continues, analogue phone calls will soon be unsupported. For your business to continue making and receiving phone calls you will need to switch to a VoIP phone system.

VoIP technology has been around for some time, and many of us use it on a regular basis without even knowing it. Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp and other popular apps and services all use VoIP technology. But it is important to know that VoIP doesn’t change much about how you make and receive calls at your business. It does make it possible for voice calls to happen on a computer, but you can also use desktop handsets and cordless phones. 

How Does VoIP Work?

VoIP is an acronym for Voice over Internet Protocol. Which also explains what it is: when making a phone call, your voice signals are converted to audio data that is then transmitted over a standard internet connection. Most of the equipment and technology involved in making this happen are managed off-site by a VoIP provider. On the surface, the way you make and receive calls is almost identical to an analogue system, but VOIP technology offers new features not supported by an analogue system.

What Is a VoIP Phone System?

In the past businesses could either have a physical PBX system to manage and direct incoming and outgoing calls, or a few business lines with basic line hunt, so that incoming calls would be directed to certain handsets. 

VOIP phone systems still perform these functions and offer a number of options to suit different business needs.

Business Line(s) Hosted PBX System SIP System

This replaces the basic setup of a few business lines with no PBX. You control how many lines you have, and still have access to useful features like call waiting and call forwarding. You can also still set up a basic line hunt. What changes is that instead of your handsets connecting to a wall socket, they are now plugged into an nbn™ router or an Analogue Telephone Adapter (ATA).

This offers all the benefits and features of a PBX system, but without the bulky equipment and high upfront costs. Perfect for businesses that couldn’t justify the costs of a physical PBX system. The virtual PBX system is hosted and managed off-site by your VoIP provider, reducing maintenance costs while allowing you to manage features yourself in an online portal.

Onsite PBX systems use channels or lines to make and receive calls. SIP allows this to happen over VoIP technology, without replacing your current PBX system. Many PBX systems are already SIP enabled to allow VoIP calls to be made through SIP trunking channels. SIP is a basic line with very few features. The features are handled by the PBX system itself.

Learn more about Commander NBN Business Line Learn more about Commander Phone Learn more about Commander SIP

If your business uses a fax machine, EFTPOS devices, or has a monitored alarm system, you may need to have a separate business line for these.

What Do I Need for a VoIP Phone System?

Switching from an analogue phone system to a VoIP phone system in Australia is not that complicated. However, there are a few things you need to have–or think about–before starting.

A Suitable nbn™ Connection

Because your normal business internet traffic and VoIP calls might be sharing the same internet connection, you will likely need an nbn™ plan like NBN50 as a minimum. This would allow the connection to handle a number of concurrent phone calls without being affected by normal internet activities. Larger businesses that also need a higher volume of concurrent calls to be supported would require a higher nbn™ plan.

A List of Must-Have Features

Most VoIP phone systems come with several useful features as standard, but some more advanced features are only available as add-ons. Knowing which features your new phone system must support and have will ensure you end up with the right system for your business needs. You don’t want to end up with a basic NBN business line when the features you absolutely need are only available with a hosted PBX system.

How Many New Handsets You Need

Depending on which system you choose, you may not need to replace your existing handsets with new ones. Even if your current handsets are not IP-enabled, they will still be able to plug into an Analogue Telephone Adapter (ATA) to allow them to work with VoIP technology. However, if you do want to replace them, or add a few extra handsets to your workplace, know how many will be needed, and whether they should be basic or advanced handsets. VoIP phone systems do also include a softphone feature, which allows calls to be made and received on desktop computers, laptops and mobile phones, but you might want to add headsets to your system for privacy.

How Many Lines You Need

While still referred to as lines, a VoIP phone system doesn’t require physical lines connecting your business to the nearest exchange. A single nbn™ connection can accommodate several VoIP lines. You need a VoIP plan for every computer or handset you want to be able to make and receive external calls. Although you pay for each plan, you can still save by only looking at plans that include unlimited calls to standard local, national, and mobile numbers.

A VoIP Provider

Not all nbn™ providers offer business VoIP services. You want a VoIP provider who not only offers support and network management in line with business needs but is also able to offer a variety of VoIP phone systems. If you start out with a business line but decide later to move to a hosted PBX system, your provider should already offer this so that you don’t need to switch providers. This also reduces the risk of any business interruption.

Commander’s team of VoIP experts can answer all your questions about our VoIP phone systems and help you select the right solution and plans for your office or business.