Businesses looking for a Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) solution can choose from two options: open-source and proprietary systems. To help you decide which solution is best, this article outlines the key benefits and drawbacks of each type so you can make an informed decision on what will work best for your organization's needs.
What is a proprietary VoIP system?
Proprietary software consists of programs whose instructions and source code are inaccessible to the public. Only the manufacturer knows and oversees all functions available on their proprietary VoIP phone system.
This means if you have a proprietary VoIP system, you can’t customize it. Whether you host the system on-premises as a hardware appliance or a virtual phone server, it's likely that you won’t be able to make even minor modifications. This allows the manufacturer to maximize the VoIP system’s potential benefits for end users and provide optimal user experience and enhanced security features unavailable in open-source software solutions.
Below is a list of the advantages and disadvantages of a proprietary VoIP system.
- Frequent updates: Providing regular updates ensures that proprietary VoIP systems always run smoothly for a seamless user experience.
- Easy installation: Proprietary VoIP systems are engineered to guarantee a user-friendly installation experience.
- Dependable support: Exceptional customer service is a critical component of proprietary VoIP systems. You may get support through online chat, an online ticketing system, or email and phone.
- Cost: One of the biggest disadvantages of proprietary VoIP systems is their cost. Often, there are yearly or monthly price hikes in renewal fees, and unexpected costs as well.
- Closed system: In proprietary VoIP systems, the manufacturer keeps all copyright regulations on their code. Generally speaking, proprietary software is "closed source" so customers have no access to its source codes and cannot do any customizations.
What is an open-source VoIP system?
In contrast to proprietary systems, open-source VoIP allows anyone to read, understand, and change the source code. This enables developers to work together to create more efficient VoIP programs that benefit end users.
Here are the advantages and disadvantages of open-source VoIP systems.
- Cost: An open-source VolP system is essentially free. This allows business owners to allocate their budget to other business needs, such as infrastructure or faster networks. Also, with no costly licensing fees, companies can take full control over their VoIP system with fewer constraints.
- More fixes and fewer bugs: With millions of people reviewing the source code, potential issues in open-source VoIP systems can be quickly identified. This allows the open-source community to react swiftly when a problem is reported. Moreover, since users have access to the code itself, they can apply their own solutions if desired.
- Flexibility: Open-source VoIP systems offer an unprecedented level of freedom and flexibility for developers, allowing them to modify the code with no restrictions. This flexibility encourages developers to discuss innovative ideas and areas of improvement.
- Poor support: Open-source VoIP systems fall short when it comes to technical support. Open-source VoIP users often have to rely on knowledge base articles and user forums for answers to their questions and solutions to issues, or have little to no access to technicians via phone or chat. Additionally, queries in open-source forums take a long time to be answered.
- Not user-friendly: Open-source VoIP systems are derided for their lack of usability, as these technologies are often designed by developers rather than user experience experts. Open-source software frequently lack user guides, which could help users understand the platform. And when present, these guides use technical jargon, making them difficult to understand. Because of this disconnect between user needs and development goals, many find it difficult to use open-source VoIP systems.
While both models have their benefits and drawbacks, the VoIP phone system that is best suited for your business will largely depend on its needs and available resources. If you want to learn more about VoIP systems, give our experts a call today.