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I'm looking to implement a communication system which will cut down our company's costs. I was suggested to go with VoIP or simply Skype. Can anyone suggest why one would be better than the other?

We have 50 people at the office in 5 locations and we use our phones heavily.

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Voting to close as off topic for migration to Server Fault, but this might also be considered "not constructive" regardless of site. The community will decide... –  DragonLord Aug 28 '12 at 17:23
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closed as not constructive by DragonLord, Olli, 8088, Indrek, Diogo Aug 28 '12 at 20:30

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3 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

It's technically the same thing when you come down to it.

If you don't need 100% reliability, Skype is the way to go.

If you want as much uptime as you can get (depending on your service provider of course), put in a VoIP solution.

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Probably yes. Can't understand how Voip companies still survive with skype out there. It's easy to install and you're up and running in a few seconds. Searched the net for a comparison for hours and couldn't find any reason why I should not use Skype. Figured I ask maybe I'm missing something. –  Ian R. Feb 11 '11 at 7:24
    
It's not that you're missing something, but as I said (and @rzlines noted as well) you rely on their dependability. Although they don't go down often, it can happen, so you're at their mercy. –  user3463 Feb 11 '11 at 7:26
    
@Ian, Skype not only does not offer most of the features that come standard with VoIP from an actual VoIP service provider, they also do not have the same level of customer service for fixing call quality issues (I guarantee you they will ask you to run through a whole host of troubleshooting steps with the data provider before they'll even investigate anything). Also, if you happen to get voice and data from the same provider, they can guarantee QoS from your router all the way to the voice servers, which is a benefit that FAR outweighs anything that Skype can offer price-wise. –  MaQleod Aug 23 '11 at 19:21
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Skype is a type of VoIP, so a better differentiation is whether to go for a Skype-based solution or use something like an Open Source Asterisk or commercial VoIP system.

For general one-to-one calling with a few other telephony features, Skype will do the trick, but if you want traditional PBX-type features such as:

  • Inter-site transfers by extension number
  • Comprehensive voicemail services
  • Out of hours call handling
  • Call parking
  • Ring groups
  • Hunt groups
  • Hot desking
  • Operator functions
  • Busy lamps
  • Call routing by rules

Then a 'proper' (sorry, Skype) VoIP solution is the way to go. You can always bridge Skype to, say, Asterisk, to get the best of both worlds too.

Edit: If you don't fancy running and managing your own VoIP system, you can have a hosted solution - the key phrase here is 'voip centrex solutions'

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Nice. I'm not sure why the OP accepted another answer within half an hour after posting the question, but these are good details to keep in mind! –  Arjan Feb 11 '11 at 9:33
    
@Arjan: Thanks for the comment. –  Linker3000 Feb 11 '11 at 11:25
    
+1. Good answer. –  user3463 Feb 15 '11 at 0:30
    
+1 Much more informative than the accepted answer, but I would like to add a few things. Skype is a proprietary protocol which makes QoS more difficult (most routers are not keyed to look for Skype traffic as voice traffic). The best solution is to get either a hosted or integrated solution (ie broadworks, or have your own PBX on PRI or SIP trunks) and have these services run by whoever handles your data. This way the voice will be tagged both on your network and on your ISP's network, all the way to the voice servers. You will have FAR fewer call quality issues this way. –  MaQleod Aug 23 '11 at 19:11
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You could go with Skype but keep a backup plan ready, so if and when Skype's services go down your office is not stranded for a communication medium

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1  
You should always have a backup. Always. If your company relies on communications (internet or voice), which most do these days, you should have a backup data and voice line, even if it is just DSL and a single POTS phone. Basically if you stand to lose more in a 4 hour period (standard sla) than you would spend in a month on a backup service, there is absolutely no excuse not to have a backup service. –  MaQleod Aug 23 '11 at 19:15
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