What happens to my VoIP calls if my internet goes down?

Our service desk monitors customer systems live, 24/7/365
Anthony Crowdie

Anthony Crowdie

If you’re thinking about changing to business VoIP but are concerned about how a loss of internet access would affect your calls, we have some useful advice.

The vast majority of our customers are now switching from older analogue and ISDN telephone lines to VoIP – Voice over Internet Protocol. VoIP has been around for decades but has become mainstream for most businesses in the past 10 years as technology and internet access has improved.

Essentially, VoIP allows you to use your internet connection to make and receive calls, removing the need for expensive individual telephone lines and ISDN2e or ISDN30e circuits. VoIP comes with other benefits such as generally being more cost-effective and allowing a level of mobility not available before, such as being able to take a phone and plug it in anywhere worldwide to make and receive calls as if you were back in the office!

A common concern with VoIP is what happens when your internet connection goes down. As expensive as ISDN and Analogue phone lines are, they are generally reliable and a move to VoIP can pose genuine questions about how a blip in internet access could affect the running of the business. The good news is that a drop in connectivity – even if sustained for a few days or more – needn’t spark a major panic.

All VoIP providers are different, but some (such as ourselves) are able to offer built-in survivability in case the internet connection powering a VoIP system should go down. Most of our customers have what we call a resilience route, which is basically an alternative way of getting phone calls into the business if the main internet line is down. Often, this could be one or more analogue lines left at the business for internet or fax purposes, a mobile phone or even both. Some of our customers with more than one office location have chosen to have calls sent to another office if one should go offline. This level of flexibility means that a drop in internet service is actually easier to handle than ever before – if somebody were to cut off the phone line feeding your Analogue or ISDN service, what would you do with your calls?

Most customers choose to have this resilience routing built into the system so failover happens automatically in the event of an internet outage. The beauty of it is that this routing can be changed on-the-fly so if a mobile number needs to be added or removed, or if calls are best going to a voicemail service instead, we can handle this promptly without the customer having to worry about reprogramming their system. Another advantage for our Hosted PBX customers – who have no physical ‘box’ on site for their phone system, rather it is held by us in a secure data centre – is that their staff can simply unplug their phones and take them home or to another office to resume work as normal.

In summary, it is a justified concern to worry about what might happen when the internet goes down if you’ve switched to VoIP – but actually, you have more realistic options than ever before!