What Is VoIP And How Does It Work?

What Is VoIP And How Does It Work?

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), is a technology that allows you to make voice calls using a broadband Internet connection instead of a regular (or analog) phone line. Some VoIP services may only let you call other people using the same service. Still, others may allow you to get anyone who has a telephone number - including local, long-distance, mobile, and international numbers. Also, while some VoIP services only work over your computer or a special VoIP phone, other services allow you to use a traditional phone connected to a VoIP adapter.

VoIP phones use hardware and software to handle telephone calls using voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology.

Phone calls are placed over internet connections rather than the traditional legacy technology of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) or Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN).

Due to the reduced infrastructure needed to deliver phone calls on VoIP technology, voice calls can be provided at a very low cost.

As VoIP services also use the internet to deliver your phone system. Many new features and services are available to small/medium-sized businesses that were previously unaffordable. These include voicemail-to-email, call recording, instant messages, international calling, music-on-hold, and call divert.

VoIP phones use hardware and software to handle telephone calls using voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology.

Due to the reduced infrastructure needed to deliver phone calls on VoIP technology, voice calls can be provided at a very low cost.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is VoIP monthly? You can expect to pay around $20 to $30 per month, per user for VoIP, depending on the provider you opt for, and the features included.

VoIP allows you to use an IP-based phone to make voice calls over the internet, which often can be a regular telephone that uses a VoIP adapter. ... With Wi-Fi, you can use VoIP with your mobile phone, which allows for mobility.

Placing VoIP to landline calls is easy. Although these two systems work differently, the technology that connects them is well-established. You can confidently enjoy the many benefits of VoIP, even when calling landline phones.

When it does, VoIP is undoubtedly the tech that will replace traditional telephony. Regulators, telecoms companies, and end-users have all already decided. They agree that VoIP is the most viable telephony solution of the future. Telecoms will not in the future rely on phone lines and related infrastructure.

How VoIP Phones Work

In the past, phones were wired to an on-premises Private Branch Exchange (PBX). This bulky machine would handle all routing and ensure each call reached its proper destination. VoIP phone features far exceed those available on old PBX systems.

VoIP technology enables traditional telephony services to operate over computer networks using packet-switched protocols. Packet-switched VoIP puts voice signals into packets, similar to an electronic envelope. VoIP packets can be transmitted over any VoIP-compatible network, such as a local area network (LAN).

Since VoIP phones process telephone calls from the internet, or the cloud, the technology employs existing computer network cabling or Wi-Fi to access telephone networks.

No additional copper wiring is needed to use your VoIP business phone service. Your phone number can stay the same as before, so there is no expense in changing it.

Because of this, making a VoIP phone call is simple. Just pick up the handset and dial a number. The technology is designed to make it simple, not more complicated.

Can You Use A Voip Phone Like A Regular Phone?

Yes. A VoIP phone can do everything a regular landline or mobile phone can. At its simplest, you still get your usual handset. And you can still use VoIP for traditional phone services.

This can be used to ring and dial out to make and receive calls. The only difference is that your voice is communicated via internet connections rather than copper lines. The only requirement is that you have internet access.

Some voice over IP services, can take advantage of this and can allow you to direct your landline calls to your mobile device. This means that you don’t have to be anywhere near your handset to make or receive landline calls.

What Kind of Equipment Do I Need?

A broadband (high-speed Internet) connection is required. This can be through a cable modem, or high-speed services such as DSL or a local area network. A computer, adaptor, or specialized phone is required. Some VoIP services only work over your computer or a special VoIP phone, while other services allow you to use a traditional phone connected to a VoIP adapter. If you use your computer, you will need some software and an inexpensive microphone. Special VoIP phones plug directly into your broadband connection and operate largely like a traditional telephone. If you use a telephone with a VoIP adapter, you'll be able to dial just as you always have, and the service provider may also provide a dial tone.

Is there a difference between making a Local Call and a Long Distance Call?

Some VoIP providers offer their services for free, normally only for calls to other subscribers to the service. Your VoIP provider may permit you to select an area code different from the area in which you live. It also means that people who call you may incur long-distance charges depending on their area code and service.

Some VoIP providers charge for a long-distance call to a number outside your calling area, similar to existing, traditional wireline telephone service. Other VoIP providers permit you to call anywhere at a flat rate for a fixed number of minutes.

If I Have Voip Service, Who Can I Call?

Depending upon your service, you might be limited only to other subscribers to the service, or you may be able to call anyone who has a telephone number - including local, long-distance, mobile, and international numbers. If you are calling someone who has a regular analog phone, that person does not need any special equipment to talk to you. Some VoIP services may allow you to speak with more than one person at a time.

Similarities and Differences VoIP And Regular Phones

As you can see, VoIP phones and landline phones differ in how they are connected to the telephone network, how they operate, and how they handle calls. To recap, here are the main differences:

  • VoIP phones use the Internet to connect to the phone network, and need to be registered online to a service provider. Other business phones require dedicated copper wiring separate from an Ethernet connection.
  • VoIP phones are tied to user accounts, not phone numbers. VoIP phones have "toggle buttons" that allow you to switch between simultaneous calls on a given account.
  • VoIP phones are capable of HD voice, which has twice the audio range of traditional landline calls.
  • Power over Ethernet (PoE) allows some VoIP phones to receive power from a PoE switch instead of a traditional power adapter.

But there are also plenty of similarities that VoIP phones share with other desk phones:

  • VoIP phones use the same keypad as other desk phones.
  • Like other office phones, VoIP phones have dedicated buttons for features such as call hold, call transfer, and caller ID.
  • VoIP phones are physically similar in design to other business telephones.
  • The basic deployment of handsets, receivers, speakers, and other structural items are the same for VoIP and landline phones.

The short of it all is this: If you've ever used an office phone before, you won't have much trouble adjusting to a VoIP phone. Switching to VoIP phones won't require you to completely re-learn the way you take and make calls.

Benefits of Switching to VoIP?

VoIP offers a number of financial benefits when compared to a local telephone company’s service, but three stand out the most for companies with call centres, a large office workforce, or growing long-distance bills.

  • Reduced phone charges: Because VoIP uses the internet to conduct voice calls, it can establish connections to anywhere in the world without incurring the same long-distance charges you would expect from traditional phone services. Calls made within the same service provider’s network are free regardless of the distance between the calls. For calls placed to different networks or landlines, calling costs are typically much lower than traditional phone services.
  • Increased productivity: VoIP increases worker productivity by integrating voice calls with unified communications, cloud collaboration platforms and business intelligence applications.
  • Better scalability: Traditional phone systems require equipment installed on-site to support the number of users at a location. VoIP can be scaled up as a business grows much faster at less cost.

Why Use VoIP for Business?

VoIP can offer the greatest benefits to organizations that stand to save on large phone service expenses, are struggling with legacy telephone equipment maintenance, or are transforming their processes with modern technology. Here are some of the reasons switching to VoIP may be a good choice for a business.

  • Lower cost: Long-distance and international calls can become burdensome for national and global organizations. VoIP eliminates the premium that goes with long-distance calls using traditional phone service.
  • Connect multiple offices: A business that spans numerous locations across one or more countries can find that traditional phone service is a logistical headache. VoIP allows businesses to combine the phone systems of multiple offices of an organization to a single system.
  • Broadband internet service: Most organizations have the internet infrastructure and bandwidth to switch to VoIP. Call centres might require an increase in bandwidth to a location, but VoIP usually doesn’t require major upgrades.
  • Save on outdated phone systems: Traditional landline phone service requires costly maintenance of on-site equipment, and equipment upgrades are needed to increase the number of lines that are available. VoIP eliminates this maintenance because it uses the location’s existing local area network.
  • Need for scalable technology: Rapid workforce growth can test the scalability of a business’s existing information systems. VoIP scales as quickly as desktop computers, mobile devices, or desk phones can be purchased and installed.
  • Overcoming geography: Global organizations face the unique challenge of integrating teams spanning two or more countries. VoIP can make bridging the geographical divide much easier when included in a larger technology package for managing remote teams.
  • Unified communications: Adopting VoIP also clears a path to a cloud collaboration and unified communication platforms that make modern contact centres and internal communications more efficient. Because voice calling is a primary means of contact, traditional telephones prevent unified platforms from reaching their full potential.
  • Managed VoIP services: Managed service packages like Epik’s offer all the hardware and software needed as a complete service package for a simple per-user monthly charge. This takes the headache out of switching to VoIP for businesses that want to avoid the expense of purchasing and owning VoIP hardware themselves.

VoIP Issues and Drawbacks

The drawbacks of replacing a traditional phone system with VoIP relate to the dependency of the internet technology that it relies on to deliver voice calls. In fact, the most common cause of VoIP quality issues is related to the internet and bandwidth limitations.

Whether it’s the increased cost of electricity or the difficulties that an unreliable internet connection can create, VoIP does come with a few downsides. Below are some of the potential drawbacks to be aware of when choosing a VoIP service.

Call quality

 Quality issues that can happen with VoIP include excessive delays when placing calls, strange sounds, echoes, and excessive noise on the line that you usually don’t encounter with landlines. When these issues develop, they can be difficult to track down because they may be caused by poor internet service, insufficient bandwidth, the VoIP hardware, or the VoIP service provider.

Many VoIP services have been improving their quality of service, but these issues often still linger when an inadequate internet connection is being used. For businesses without a managed VoIP service, troubleshooting VoIP problems can really cut into productivity and operations.

Need for a power source

 Traditional telephones are powered with electricity which is delivered by the local telephone company through a landline. Since power is supplied through a landline, they can function during local power outages. VoIP devices, however, use power from a wall socket, which means they can fail during local power outages unless emergency power is available. The need to supply power can also increase an organization’s utility bill as a result.

Consumes internet bandwidth

VoIP operates over a broadband internet connection, so it will add a bandwidth load to your existing internet service. For large organizations, their bandwidth may need to be increased to accommodate the data usage that a new VoIP service will require. Security

Another weakness of technologies like VoIP is the ever-present security risk of sending data over a public network. Many VoIP phones and hosted systems are designed to encrypt the voice data they send over the internet to protect against malicious eavesdropping, but organizations concerned about the potential loss of privacy should examine security closely when considering a VoIP service.

911 emergency calling

911 is part of the traditional phone system, and VoIP has not been required by regulators to offer a connection to 911 service. The need for emergency 911 service has led the VoIP industry to offer these services in most cases, especially for residential customers. 

Getting the Best VoIP Experience

There are several ways an organization can optimize the benefits of VoIP. Here’s are a few ideas:

Hosted VoIP solutions

Modern hosted solutions use cloud servers to provide the connectivity needed to manage a site’s VoIP service. Changing the resources needed for the number of users required is a simple process of adding or subtracting cloud servers, or changing server settings. It also makes a recovery from hardware failures fast and reliable.

Fiber optic internet service

 Fiber optic internet services allows organizations to operate their own private network that connects disparate locations to the internet. These dedicated network connections are managed and maintained 24/7 by the service provider.

The bandwidth and reliability of a private fibre-optic network is much higher than standard broadband internet connections. A private fiber-optic network allows your VoIP data to travel securely and unobstructed, avoiding public internet traffic.

Uptime guarantees

Uptime guarantees are important when choosing a hosted or managed internet service. With the advent of cloud technologies, these guarantees have been pushed as high as 99.9% by some service providers because they can quickly respond to outages and restore service with backup servers. Be sure to choose a service provider that stands by its guarantee.

Responsive support

Another important aspect of VoIP service is the responsiveness of the customer support offered by the service provider. Look for providers who guarantee response and resolution times and who provide multiple channels of contact, such as online chat, phone, and social media messaging.

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