As the Voice Over IP Industry continues to grow and mature an increasing number of equipment manufacturers are offering IP Phone solutions. As the number of possible solutions increase, the more complex the process gets in selecting the proper IP Phone. Here are ten questions (in no order of importance), that if answered prior to investigating any solution, should make the selection an IP Phone much easier.
1. Who Will Be Using the Phone? Executive, Manager, Sales Associate, Associate, Recptionist, etc.
2. What Features and Functionality Does That Person/Position Need? Call Waiting, Call Transfer, Call Parking, Conference, Speaker Phone, etc
3. How Many Incoming Calls Will the Person/Position Recieve at a Time? This Decides How Many Lines Appearances the Phone Will Need.
4. How Often Will the Phone Be Used? Is the Person/Position on the Phone All Day Long or Will They Hardly Need to Use it.
5. What Phone System Are Your Using? Make Sure Your Phones Are Compatible With Your System Prior to Purchasing Them. This is Especially Important With Open Source or Open Source based Solutions.
6. How is The Office Wired? Do You Have Seperate Ethernet Connections For the IP Phone and the Computer, or Does the IP Phone Need a LAN and a WAN Port in Order to Connect to the PC.
7. What are Your Power Requirements? Will You Be Using an AC Outlet or Does Your Network Support Power Over Ethernet.
8. What Protocol and Codec Does Your Service Provider/IP PBX Support? SIP, MGCP, H.323, G.711, G.729, etc.
9. What is the Standard Manufacturer’s Warranty and What Level of Support Do They (or Thier Resellers) Provide Free of Charge? It is Always Wise to Make Sure That a Defective Phone Can be Returned and That Any Installation Issues That You Might Encountered Can Be Handled Without Lengthy Time Delays.
10. What is Your Budget? What Are the Financial Limitations to the Phone Deployment and Which IP Phone Offers the “Best Bang for the Buck.”
By answering the ten questions above you should be well on your way to making the proper selection for your IP Phone needs.
Have a question or tip that will assist in making the IP Phone selection process easier? Add it to the comments below!