Scalability of VoIP Systems
If you’re considering upgrading your business’s phone system to a Voice over IP (VoIP) solution, scalability should be one of your top priorities. After all, you want a system that can grow and adapt with your company over time. In this post, we’ll explore what exactly VoIP scalability means, why it matters for businesses, and how to choose a scalable VoIP system.
What Does “Scalable” Mean for VoIP?
When we talk about scalability in regards to VoIP systems, we mean the ability of the system to easily expand in order to support additional users and locations. A scalable system allows you to quickly and cost-effectively add new phones, extensions, features, and even physical office locations as your business grows.
For example, let’s say you initially deploy a VoIP phone system with 50 desk phones at your headquarters. A year later, you open a satellite office across town with 25 employees. A scalable system makes it easy to deploy 25 new VoIP phones at the satellite office and seamlessly incorporate them into the overall phone network.
With a non-scalable legacy phone system, adding those extra 25 phones could require expensive hardware upgrades or even an entirely new phone system. But scalable VoIP solutions make growth painless.
Why VoIP Scalability Matters for Your Business
There are a few key reasons why scalability should be a top priority when evaluating VoIP platforms:
Cost Savings – With scalable VoIP, you only pay for the features and capacity you currently need. You can then easily scale up without major expenses down the road. This prevents overbuying capacity you don’t yet require.
Flexibility – Your business will inevitably change over time. Scalable VoIP gives you flexibility to add or reduce capacity and adjust the phone system as needs shift.
Future Proofing – A scalable system ensures your VoIP investment is protected well into the future, even as your business sees growth and evolution. You won’t risk outgrowing your phone system capabilities.
Disaster Recovery – If you suddenly need to ramp up capacity due to an emergency or disaster recovery scenario, a scalable platform allows you to instantly scale up to meet the need.
How to Identify a Truly Scalable VoIP System
All VoIP vendors will claim their systems are scalable. But look beyond the marketing language to truly evaluate scalability. Here are key things to look for:
Simple Licensing Structure – There shouldn’t be complex licensing tiers or fees to add phones, extensions, features, etc. Pricing should be predictable as you scale.
No Capacity Limits – Entry-level VoIP systems often have hard limits on number of extensions. Make sure your system has unlimited capacity.
Automatic Number Provisioning – Adding new phones and numbers should be point-and-click simple, with no manual programming required.
Built-In Redundancy – To avoid downtime if capacity needs to scale rapidly, ensure there is redundancy built into the VoIP infrastructure.
Centralized Management – You should be able to administer the entire system, including all locations, through a single dashboard.
SIP-Based Calling – The system should use the SIP protocol for call routing. This makes scaling across multiple locations easier.
Cloud-Based Options – A cloud VoIP platform means you avoid capacity limitations of a premises-based system.
Choosing the Right VoIP Phones for Scalability
Selecting the proper VoIP phones is key to smoothly scaling your phone system across the enterprise. Look for models designed to make growing your deployment easy.
Auto-provisioning support allows VoIP phones to be shipped to end users and automatically download their configuration from the VoIP server without IT needing to manually set up each device. This ensures new phones can be deployed rapidly across the organization.
As your VoIP system evolves, the phones should also be able to seamlessly update themselves with new firmware versions to gain access to the latest features.
Phones that support Power over Ethernet do not require bulky power adapter bricks at every desktop. This simplifies wiring and system expansion. For temporary sites or highly mobile users, wireless VoIP phones with built-in WiFi provide maximum flexibility for growth.
To scale VoIP efficiently, businesses should define common phone button profiles and layouts that can be assigned to groups of users based on their roles and communication needs. This eliminates the need to individually program and configure each phone.
Having the right mix of desk and conference room phone models is also useful for outfitting various types of spaces as your offices and workforce grow.
By partnering with your VoIP provider to choose durable, scalability-focused VoIP phones, you can avoid many headaches as your user count rises. Phones designed for easy deployments, automatic updates, standardized profiles, and flexibility will serve your business well as you scale VoIP company-wide.
Multi-Site VoIP Scalability
If your business has multiple locations, look for a VoIP system that can unify communications across sites. Key aspects that support multi-site scalability:
- A unified dial plan – Users at any site can dial coworkers with simple 3-4 digit extensions
- Site-to-site calling – Make calls between locations without long distance or PSTN charges
- Centralized management – Administer the entire multi-site phone system through one dashboard
- Call routing flexibility – Intelligently route calls between sites based on business needs
- Redundant infrastructure – Build redundancy into the VoIP network across locations
- QoS priorities – Ensure acceptable call quality even with limited bandwidth between sites
A multi-site VoIP deployment requires planning but can transform unified communications. Partner with an experienced VoIP provider to configure a system that unifies your locations while scaling smoothly.
Scaling VoIP for Remote and Mobile Workers
Supporting a growing remote workforce often requires upgrading old PBX phone systems that lack mobility features. Modern VoIP platforms integrate seamlessly with remote devices through mobile apps that extend office phone capabilities to smartphones and laptops. Users can make or receive calls and access full unified communications features whether they are at home, a cafe, or traveling.
Advanced VoIP systems include softphone capabilities as well, allowing remote workers to use their computer’s microphone and speakers to place and answer calls without a separate desk phone.
Calls to the office can be intelligently routed to ring the remote worker’s device, ensuring they never miss an important customer call.
For companies with fully distributed teams, choosing a cloud-based VoIP solution is key. The system is centrally hosted and accessed easily by workers worldwide. Built-in security and compliance tools keep remote VoIP calls protected. VoIP providers designed for mobility will also integrate with leading UCaaS platforms like Slack, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams.
This unifies VoIP telephony with omni-channel messaging, meeting solutions, and more.
Wireless desk phone options also bring VoIP to remote spaces like home offices. With built-in WiFi connectivity, these phones provide core VoIP features without needing to run ethernet cabling to each location. Whether providing phones for a satellite office or shipping devices to individual homes, wireless VoIP phones make scaling communications across a distributed workforce simple.
Tips for Planning a Scalable VoIP Deployment
When rolling out a new VoIP system, proper planning ensures you deploy for optimal scalability:
- Choose software-based and cloud-hosted VoIP for maximum scalability.
- Build in excess capacity and redundancy from day one.
- Select VoIP phones that make adding devices easy.
- Plan unified dialing and call routing schemes across locations.
- Implement QoS policies to prioritize voice traffic on the network.
- Use zero-touch auto provisioning for phones, switches, and routers.
- Monitor usage regularly to identify areas needing additional capacity.
With careful planning, you can deploy VoIP that easily absorbs rapid user growth, new sites, and evolving business demands.
Scalable VoIP Brings Peace of Mind
In today’s climate of rapid growth and change, VoIP scalability provides peace of mind that your phone system can readily expand and adapt as needed.
Before committing to a VoIP solution, scrutinize its scalability closely to ensure it integrates seamlessly across locations and can scale up or down with ease. With the right platform, your VoIP system will be primed for whatever the future holds.
Check out our top VoIP system recommendations to see which one’s right for you!