What is VOIP?
VoIP, short for Voice over Internet Protocol, is a modern phone system that allows you to make and receive calls using your internet connection instead of your traditional landline connection. You can still call other landlines with your VOIP system, and the recipient would never know a difference, but there are several benefits to you as the business owner of using VOIP that we’ll go into in this article.
VOIP is like an alternative to your local telephone company, but it offers more flexibility and costs considerably less
With VoIP, you can make calls to anyone as long as you have an internet connection, eliminating the need for traditional phone services or physical copper wires.
All you require is a reliable high-speed internet connection and a VoIP service provider to handle your calls. And the best thing about it is that you’re not restricted to a specific location. By using a VoIP phone number through a business phone app, you can transform your computer or mobile device into a fully functional phone from anywhere in the world (that has a decent internet connection).
A VoIP service provider converts your phone calls into data packets that are transmitted over the internet. And you do not need a seperate connection to do so – you can use your current Ethernet cables or connect wirelessly if you’ve got a strong WiFi signal.
The cost of using VoIP is significantly lower compared to traditional telephone systems, making it a cost-effective choice for businesses and individuals alike.
For individuals, services like Skype provide a great VOIP solution that’ll be far more flexible and cost effective than a traditional landline phone. However for businesses, a service like our Cloud Based Phone System is more suitable.
Welcome to the next big thing: making telephone calls over the internet.
Is A VOIP Phone And A Landline Phone The Same Thing?
A landline phone operates through traditional copper wires and is connected to the public switched telephone network (PSTN). It requires a physical connection to the local telephone company’s infrastructure. When you make a call on a landline phone, the voice signal travels through the copper wires to reach the recipient. Landline phones are typically associated with fixed locations, such as homes or offices, and they rely on a dedicated phone line.
On the other hand, a VOIP phone uses Voice over Internet Protocol technology, which means it transmits voice calls over the internet. Instead of relying on copper wires, a VOIP phone converts the voice signal into digital data packets and sends them over an internet connection. The data packets reach the recipient through the internet infrastructure and are converted back into a voice signal at the receiving end. VOIP phones are often associated with greater flexibility, as they can be used from any location with an internet connection.
Can Customers Call A VOIP Phone From Their Landline?
Landline phones and VOIP phones can communicate with each other despite their differences in technology. When a landline phone calls a VOIP phone, the voice signal from the landline phone is transmitted through the traditional telephone network, converted into digital data packets, and then routed over the internet to reach the VOIP phone. At the receiving end, the VOIP phone receives the data packets and converts them back into a voice signal for the user to hear.
Conversely, when a VOIP phone calls a landline phone, the voice signal from the VOIP phone is converted into data packets and transmitted over the internet to a gateway that connects to the landline telephone network. The gateway then converts the data packets back into a traditional analog voice signal to reach the landline phone user.
This interoperability between landline phones and VOIP phones allows seamless communication between the two systems, enabling users on both sides to connect and have conversations, regardless of whether they are using a landline or VOIP phone.
How Does VoIP work?
VoIP works by transforming voice signals into digital data packets and transmitting them over the internet. Here’s a simplified explanation of how VoIP works in 4 steps:
- Your IP phone connects to your internet router.
- You dial a number on your IP phone and it sends a signal to your VoIP service provider telling it to connect your call with the intended recipient.
- Your VoIP service provider sets up a connection between your device and the recipient’s device. This enables the exchange of voice data in the form of digital packets containing your voice information.
- Your IP phone receives the data packets and converts the digital signals back into audible sound. This conversion allows you to hear the voice of the person you’re speaking with during the call.
It sounds complicated – but it’s easy to use once it’s set up.
What are the advantages of VoIP for businesses?
VoIP offers several advantages for businesses. And in this section we thought we’d outline some of the main ones:
- Cost Savings
VoIP typically offers lower calling rates, especially for long-distance and international calls, compared to traditional phone services. This means that businesses can significantly reduce their communication expenses, particularly for companies with frequent long-distance or international contacts.
VoIP systems are highly scalable, allowing businesses to easily add or remove phone lines according to their needs. As businesses grow or downsize, VoIP provides the flexibility to adjust the number of lines without the hassle of physical installations or disruptions.
- Mobility And Flexibility
VoIP enables employees to make and receive calls from anywhere with an internet connection. It promotes remote work, allowing employees to stay connected and productive even when working from different locations. VoIP can also integrate with mobile devices, turning them into extensions of the business phone system.
- Advanced Features And Integration
VoIP systems offer a wide range of advanced features such as call forwarding, voicemail-to-email transcription, call recording, video conferencing and auto-attendant. Integration with other business applications like customer relationship management (CRM) software enhances productivity and efficiency by streamlining communication processes.
- Unified Communication
VoIP integrates voice, video, and data communication into a single platform, enabling businesses to have unified communication channels. This integration simplifies collaboration and improves internal and external communication within the organisation.
- Business Continuity
VoIP systems are resilient and can be configured to ensure continuity of communication during unexpected events or disasters. Calls can be redirected to alternative locations or devices, reducing the risk of communication disruption.
You may not want or need all of the features we just discussed at this point, and you don’t have to use them all – however, it’s nice to know they’re there if you want them.
Please tell me it’s not pronounced ‘voype’…
No, it’s definitely ‘v-o-i-p’. And it’s just as well you know how to say it because, like broadband, VoIP is set to explode from the margins of technology into everyday life.
And although some people still call it “voype” – it’s ‘v-o-i-p’.
Why is VoIP the next breakthrough?
It’s the next stage of the internet’s annexation of other networks. Voice over Internet Protocol, to give VoIP its full name, takes a voice-based signal and sends it over the Internet/private data network instead of a telecom network.
Why do we need VoIP?
Phone networks are wasteful, establishing an exclusive connection between the two speakers for the call’s duration. By using VoIP, the call is broken up into tiny chunks, known as packets, that make their way to the listener independently, using the network more effectively.
Think of it like this: if the M1 was run the same way as a phone line, only one car at a time would be able to make the journey; under VoIP, many cars can share the same route.
Does that mean you don’t get charged by the minute as on phone calls?
Ah, if only. The difficulty right now is that most of the time, a VoIP user wants to contact someone on a standard phone line, and the owner of that phone network will charge your VoIP provider for access. So per-minute rates are prevalent, if cheaper than standard tariffs.
How much cheaper?
The best illustration of possible savings is the US market, where VoIP is more mature: packages based on a monthly subscription are available for half the cost of an equivalent telecoms tariff.
There must be a catch.
Indeed. The difficulty in guaranteeing high-quality calls has restricted VoIP’s implementation to privately-owned carrier networks, not the internet so far. And then there’s the expense…
So I can’t get VoIP for my business after all?
You can now. Improving technology means that carraying VoIP over the internet has become feasible. If you’d like to learn more about how VoIP can improve your business’s communications, visit our cloud PBX page.
Do I have to make calls through my PC and a headset?
No, not at all: handsets that plug into a standard Ethernet network point are available for VoIP use.