What Is A VOIP?
Last Updated on July 14, 2021 by Gabriel Goddy
Have you heard of the term VOIP? You probably have, or have not. However, here is a chance to know everything about VOIP. If you stick to this review, you’ll have a full grasp of what VOIP means, and what it does.
What Is VoIP?
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. Put, it refers to making phone calls that are made through the Internet, rather than through a regular landline or a mobile network. A VoIP system works by taking your analog voice signals, converting them into digital signals, then sending them as data over your broadband line.
It’s a very useful way of making calls – for a start, once it’s set up it’s a lot cheaper than using normal phone lines. It means that, depending on your setup, you may not have to pay for your phone calls based on distance, which country you’re calling, or how much time you spend chatting.
People opt for VoIP because they can make phone calls without any telephone service, which saves them long-distance charges. If you have internet access, you don’t need to run any extra copper wires. This lets employees work from home or telecommute to the office as well.
To call someone using VoIP, you need a SIP-compatible desk phone or a VoIP calling app, which means it is assigned an IP address so that calls can be made from your network. Unlike landline phones, they are capable of high-definition (HD) phone calls.
Your VoIP System Could Be:
- With a phone and a VoIP adapter – Using a special adapter, you can make VoIP calls from a regular old landline phone. These adapters plug into either a phone socket in the wall or into your router.
- With a computer – There are dozens of programs that let you make voice calls to anyone who also has it installed, including Skype, Google Talk, and Apple FaceTime. Some, such as Skype, can be used to call a regular landline or mobile number too. Calling someone else who has the app is free, but calling an actual phone number will usually cost a little.
- With a smartphone – You can use your smartphone to make voice calls using certain apps. See below for more on how this works.
Some broadband and home phone providers offer VoIP as part of their services so that they may do things a little differently. It’s the standard form of the phone line from several FTTP (fibre-to-the-premises) providers, for example, and VoIP is available as part of almost any business broadband or phone package. Either way, your provider will give you all the info you need.
Voice over IP, or VoIP, refers to the transmission of voice traffic over an internet connection. Traditional telephony, known as the Public Switched Telephone Network or PSTN for short, works through physical phone lines, cable systems, and networks and allows users to make landline and cellular telephone calls.
IP telephony, however, is much more versatile and enables voice, data, and video to be transmitted to a variety of devices including smartphones, laptops, tablets, and IP phones at a much lower cost.
There are a variety of applications and software communications systems that utilize Voice over IP to offer full-featured business communications solutions as well as internet telephony for personal use. Examples of such products include 3CX, which offers a company communications system integrating voice, video, chat, and more.
How does VoIP work?
Essentially, VoIP replaces wires and phone lines with the internet. So, when you speak into a VoIP telephone, it converts your voice into data and then transmits it over the internet. Just like an email. Then, on the receiving end of your call, the information is converted back into your voice – clear as day and with no delay.
But what’s more important than how it works, is knowing that it will always work. Thankfully, most VoIP problems can be fixed remotely and in a couple of minutes. There’s no need to shut down operations or call in an engineer. That means you can get back to business as usual
- Lower Costs
Cost savings is one of the benefits of VoIP that virtually any business can appreciate. You can only install so many phone lines and costs quickly add up, especially if your business regularly makes long-distance calls.
With communication data being modified into data packets and sent over the IP network, the issue of a single phone line being able to be utilized by only two callers is eliminated. The IP network could be a direct IP connection to your phone service provider or simply your existing internet connection (or a combination of both).
Traditional phone lines typically charge for each minute of call time, wherewith VoIP your only costs are your monthly charges from your ISP. In fact, many providers offer inexpensive or even free calling too, for example, the contiguous United States.
- Cost-Effective Hardware and Software
One of the additional cost benefits of VoIP is the limited costs associated with hardware and software required to operate the system. Quality providers ensure their clients always have the most up-to-date software and provide current hardware. This eliminates the need for businesses to purchase their own phones and infrastructure, which can result in additional cost savings.
- Simplified Conferencing
Without the need for dedicated phone lines, conferencing is simplified considerably. Traditional phone systems allow for conferencing, but you’ll end up paying for an additional service and hosting multiple callers each time you need to conference.
With a converged data network, these features are typically native and the cost is built into the already lower price of the VoIP service that you’re already paying for.
- More Than Just Voice Calls
An additional benefit of VoIP is that it makes video conferencing far simpler as well. In fact, you can transfer various media formats (images, video, text) during your phone or video calls to dramatically improve your ability to conduct presentations or solve issues on the fly.
- Worldwide Access
More employers are discovering the benefits of having their staff work from home in exchange for smaller office spaces, decreased utility costs, etc.
What they’re also discovering are the benefits of VoIP that allow their employees to telecommute so effectively. VoIP allows employees to remotely utilize the voice, fax, and data services of your office via your intranet.
VoIP technology has become extremely portable, allowing users to connect from home offices and abroad. What’s more, is that your employee’s number follows them to their new home office when they make the change.
- Mobility of Your Service
While telecommuting is one thing, one of the lesser mentioned benefits of VoIP is that the entire service is highly mobile. Whereas traditional phone systems require a unique number to be assigned to each line and transferring those numbers can be complicated, VoIP is different. If you outgrow your current office or need to change locations for any reason, your VoIP system can be easily transferred.
- Better Use of Bandwidth
One of the little-known benefits of VoIP is that it makes for more efficient use of your existing bandwidth. As roughly half of the voice conversations are made up of silence, VoIP continues to fill those information gaps with other data from other bandwidth consumers to make better use of your resources. What’s more, is that VoIP allows for compression and elimination of speech redundancies to further improve efficiencies.
- Extensive Additional Features
Many businesses don’t fully understand all of the benefits and additional features that are included in a VoIP service. VoIP systems allow you to connect a wide variety of devices to keep your business’s productivity high.
VoIP services typically include features like caller ID, virtual numbers, contact lists, voicemail, etc., but these features can all be used in more sophisticated ways to boost operational efficiency. For example, voicemails and messages can be forwarded to multiple colleagues with a single click, and voicemail-to-text transcriptions can be sent directly to your inbox so they can be reviewed while on the go.
Many features are included in various provider packages and, due to the flexible nature of the service, custom VoIP services can be designed based on the unique needs of your business.
- Network Flexibility
One of the benefits of VoIP that your IT team will enjoy is that its underlying network need not be a part of a specific technology layout. That means your existing ethernet, SONET, ATM, or even your WiFi can be used as the foundation for your network.
The complexity of PSTN (traditional) phone networks is virtually eliminated. This allows for a more standardized system to be implemented that supports a variety of communication types while being more tolerant of faults and requiring less management of equipment.
- Fax over IP
One of the additional benefits of VoIP is that most providers include Fax over IP as a part of their service. Fax over IP all but eliminates the high costs of long-distance facsimile, as well as improves compatibility between machines and reliability of service.
Once again, fax information is transmitted via data packets that dramatically improve efficiency. In fact, VoIP doesn’t even require a fax machine to send or receive a fax.
- More Effective Communication
With your personnel working from various points within the office, their home, or around the world, keeping them within reach is critical. One of the more interesting benefits of VoIP is that you can have a single call ring to your desk phone for the first few rings, then to your mobile phone, tablet, or laptop if the call goes unanswered. This way urgent calls are answered more often and less time is spent checking voicemail or corresponding over other platforms.
- Highly Reliable
One of the most common (and inaccurate) objections to VoIP is that if a business finds themselves without internet for whatever reason, they’d be without a phone as well. One of the benefits of VoIP flexibility is that in the event of an office phone going down due to lack of network, calls can always be forwarded to mobile phones and other devices. That also means weather issues and power outages no longer present the risk they once did.
- Ease of Installation, Configuration, Maintenance
One of our favorite benefits of VoIP is that IP phones are incredibly easy to install—even for those who are less technically savvy. There is no need to have expert technicians running phone wiring throughout your office. Instead, IP phones are virtually plug-and-play.
Hosted VoIP software also makes it incredibly simple to add new users, and a web portal makes moving, adding, or changing your system’s configuration much easier. All of this simplicity means maintenance is straightforward and rarely requires professional support.
Highly efficient business systems scale with the needs of the business, but traditional phone systems are far more difficult to scale. Scalability is one of the benefits of VoIP that supports your efficiency and productivity while remaining highly cost-effective at the same time.
VoIP systems allow you to add a line as you hire a new employee and eliminate lines in the case of downsizing. You’re only ever paying for what you need.
- Easy Integration with Other Business Systems
Your business likely utilizes various other systems and technologies to enhance your operational efficiencies. VoIP easily integrates with a wide variety of existing business systems.
That means you’ll realize all of the benefits of VoIP without requiring modification of your existing applications or IT infrastructure. For example, outbound calls can be placed via Outlook or other email systems and customer records can even be viewed during the inbound call with said customer.
The benefits of VOIP are clear. If you have a business, then you most certainly need a VOIP. Implementing VoIP doesn’t mean that all your employees have to use IP-enabled phones. The best VoIP providers implement IP telephony in a manner that protects your investment in existing telephone equipment, even if you have analog telephone stations.