VoIP means simply Voice over Internet Protocol and allows you to make low-cost or free telephone calls over the internet. You can dial any other phone and they can dial you, no matter what equipment used. VoIP uses digital technology and often offers features that are expensive on standard telephone networks such as voicemail, music on hold and caller redirect.
VoIP works by converting your voice into digital packets that can be sent as data over the internet. Conversion takes place via an ATA (Analogue Terminal Adapter) or an IP Phone. The packets of data are transmitted just like any other internet data such as email or browser activity. The data once it reaches its final destination it is then converted back to an analogue signal that you hear as sound. This is called by network engineers encapsulation.
For businesses, VoIP offers a reduction in communication costs and the possibility to add more features to their internal phone network. Individuals may also benefit from VoIP and communicate through their broadband with mobile devices free.
Skype has popularised VoIP worldwide, this revolutionary software allows instant messaging, voice and video calls for free.
VoIP uses your existing infrastructure so costs are extremely low and normally fall within your monthly internet bill. However, if you want to completely replace your PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) within a company you will require a business VoIP Provider and this comes at a price, all be it substantially lower than a landline.
The equipment required for VoIP varies depending on the application. For businesses, it’s recommended to use VoIP (SIP) telephones and adapters. They work without the need for computers to be switched on and deliver more functionality than a standard phone. Business VoIP services provide SME’s with advanced features including private branch exchange (PBX) capabilities, conference calling, desk-to-desk calling, music on hold and voice mail.
While residential VoIP plans often only support one call at a time and come at a flat rate, business VoIP supports multiple calls and tiered pricing based on usage. VoIP is rapidly growing in usage due to low-cost calls (saving up to 80%) and feature rich systems.