VoIP Phones – What To Look For
There are over 100 different VoIP or SIP phones available in the market place. Our platform can handle just about any of them but with the competitive market out there it is a difficult choice as to which ones we as a VoIP service provider are going to offer our clients. Rather than making this about my personal preferences this is about what you should consider when making your VoIP Hosted Phone choice.
First of all, does it have a Gigabyte pass-through port. Most of small offices out there use the same data cable to run the phone and the computer. All computers have gigabyte network cards in them so if you want gigabyte speed, make sure the phone is a gigabyte phone. I see these “Free Phone” adds out there all the time but the initial offer is not a gigabyte phone. You need to be careful as this can be very subtle. For instance a Polycom VVX 300 is not gigabyte but the VVX 310 is gigabyte.
Second it is important to consider how easy it is to upgrade the phone’s firmware. Being able to install a phone and never having to upgrade the firmware is just not realistic. VoIP phones are small computers, and many integrate with many apps. Many of the phones I place on C Level’s desk have large screens with Android Apps built in. Take the Grandstream GXV3200. You can plan on upgrading it quite often.
The next item I should have probably made it number one. How easy is it to program buttons and whether or not it needs paper designation strips? I simply will not install a phone that requires my technician to carry a printer and make up paper Desi’s. It is a waste of time and you end up doing it several times as the client is always changing their mind. It is just the way it is. You know the drill, ” You spelled my name wrong, I want this person before that person. Can you redo this but with CAPS”? No thanks. More importantly when it comes to buttons, can I simply log into the phone and change the button. Some phones still require you to write a script in html code or make changes in a config file and then upload it to the phone. Come on people. We have AI now.
My last item as I am beginning to digress is headset integration. First, Make sure the phone has a headset jack and speaker button. Second, if this phone is going to be for a receptionist or someone that needs to move around, make sure it is Bluetooth enabled. It is no longer necessary to use handset lifters and having to be next to your phone to answer a call. Having a Bluetooth headset eliminates the wire clutter around your desk.
Hope this gives you a few things to consider before pulling the trigger on a VoIP phone. They are definitely not created equal.