Salient Features of a VoIP Provider

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The VoIP market is fiercely competitive. Due to the low barriers to entry, anyone can technically become a VoIP provider and sell their services to other people. All one needs is a bit of computer hardware as well as access to the relevant gateways which interface between the Internet and the PSTN system. Certainly it's far easier than spending billions of dollars to create your own infrastructure the way traditional telecom services have to do.

But if it's so easy for anyone to set up their voice services, how does one choose between them? The race to the lowest price will soon settle down and then one has to look at other factors to determine the best provider. In this article, we look at some of the important attributes when choosing which service you're going to use.

While setting up the bare bones of a VoIP service is easy enough, doing a good job of it is another matter entirely. For example, you can find out where the hosted VoIP proxy servers are located. Are they in a proper datacenter? What redundancy is built into the network and can it withstand a mass denial of service attack, power outages and other catastrophes? We also need to look at how fast it can recover when things go wrong. The facilities an ITSP has are a signal of how seriously they take their work and how much of an investment they've put into it.

Customer Service and SLAs
Since you'll be relying on the VoIP service for quite some time in the future, it's critical to understand their approach to customer service. See if you can contact some other customers to find out how responsive they are and how often problems crop up. A watertight Service Level Agreement (SLA) will go a long way in clarifying expectations of the service. It's the bedrock of the agreement between you two.

Presence in the Market
It's a strong sign of reliability if the VoIP provider has a pervasive presence on support forums, has PR releases and if they give interviews, on line training and web conferencing or webinar sessions. It shows how up to date they are with the latest trends in the industry and also shows whether they're leaders or merely follow the crowd.

Obviously none of these will guarantee a great experience. But each of them is a signal which is fairly difficult to fake. Taken together, they can give you a comprehensive idea of how reliable and service oriented a particular ITSP is.

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