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What is Voice Over IP (VoIP)?

 

 

Businesses of all sizes are rapidly discovering the benefits of switching to a Voice over IP (VoIP) phone system. That leaves many wondering just what VoIP actually is and how it works. Here are the basics.

VoIP is a methodology and group of technologies for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, like the Internet.

In short, VoIP is a combination of hardware and software that allows the user to make phone calls through the Internet. By routing calls through an existing data network rather than the phone company’s network, businesses are able to cut out costly and unnecessary charges, all while enjoying the advanced calling features that come with this type of solution.

An understanding of how VoIP technology works is integral to a business’s ability to take full advantage of its benefits—so we’ve compiled some key related terms to consider:

  • VoIP – Technology that allows voice to be transmitted over Internet-style connections
  • Private Branch Exchange (PBX) – Essentially, PBX is a phone system that connects different extensions inside and outside the office under one network
  • IP Telephony – Refers to the technology which allows voice data packets to be transmitted between parties
  • IP Communications – Expands IP telephony to include the transmission of data in the form of messaging, video and other media forms
  • Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) – Signaling protocol for IP telephony used for VoIP, as well as a range of other multimedia

VoIP basics: How it works

VoIP works similarly to basic audio recording software you may be familiar with, only it is optimized to record and transmit simultaneously—providing immediate, reliable connectivity between clients and colleagues.

VoIP works similarly to basic audio recording software you may be familiar with, only it is optimized to record and transmit simultaneously—providing immediate, reliable connectivity between clients and colleagues:

  • VoIP involves signaling, channel setup, digitization of the analog voice signals, and encoding
  • Instead of being transmitted over a circuit-switched network, the digital information is packetized, and transmission occurs as IP packets over a packet-switched network

Rather than your voice being transmitted over the phone company’s network, VoIP records and converts the audio sample into data, which is then transmitted over your existing data network.

Essentially, you are eliminating the need (and cost) of your phone company’s network to communicate. Such transmission entails careful considerations about resource management different from time-division multiplexing (TDM) networks.


Benefits of VoIP

Simply put, converting to a VoIP phone system saves your business money. VoIP allows both voice and data communications to be run over a single network, which can significantly reduce infrastructure costs.

  • Reap the benefits of advanced features and functionality
  • Since VoIP relies more on software than hardware, companies are able to deploy the newest feature updates via software download without updating hardware – an invaluable benefit in this fast-evolving landscape.
  • Enjoy the flexibility of convenient, portable communications
  • The simple portability of VoIP devices allows users to more easily switch between different desks or offices without the hassle of moving and setting up hardware—that means no more wasted IT time.
  • Take advantage of seamless application integration
  • Everyday business applications are easily integrated into the VoIP phone system. Users are able to access voicemail through email, place outgoing calls through email clients, use click-to-call features on websites and more

VoIP is available on many smartphones, personal computers, and on Internet access devices. VoIP is essential for remote workers as well as keeping your workforce unified, no matter where they travel.

Check out our hosted VoIP phone systems for business >

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