Voice Over IP (VoIP): Definition
You’ve heard Voice Over IP (VoIP) dramatically lowers operating costs, offers mobile calling from any Internet-connected device, and provides advanced features unavailable on traditional phone systems. Countless voices within the business communications space praise VoIP’s scalability, flexibility, and overall ease of use, emphasizing how the technology has revolutionized phone services for business and personal use.
What is Voice Over IP (VoIP)?
Voice over IP (Voice over Internet Protocol) or VoIP, is a technology that allows you to make voice calls over a broadband Internet connection instead of an analog (regular) phone line. Some VoIP services allow you to call people using the same service, but others may allow you to call anyone. They can have a telephone number – including local, long-distance, mobile, and international numbers or not. 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.
Why is Voice over IP so important?
To say that VoIP technology has changed the way that people and businesses communicate would not be an understatement.
For one, calls aren’t restricted to a single device anymore as people can now choose to use IP phones, computers, or mobile devices. That’s because VoIP allows different forms of communication – voice calls, SMS, video calls, conference calls, etc. – to take place on a single IP network. Not only that, but businesses can also get rid of their clunky, on-premises PBXs (think of those old desk phones that every office used to have) too.
How Voice over IP (VoIP) works
VoIP works by converting voice audio into packets of data that then travel through the Internet like any other type of data such as text or pictures. These packets of sound data travel almost instantly through public and private Internet networks to route from the origination to the destination. Any landline or mobile phone that is connected to the Internet can place and receive VoIP calls. VoIP calls can also be conducted on computers through the computer microphone and speakers or headsets.
Because VoIP calls travel through the Internet instead of through analog telephone lines, they are subject to the same lags and delays as other data traveling the Internet when bandwidth is compromised or overwhelmed.
Pros and cons of Voice over IP
There are pros and cons to consider when looking into VoIP for handling your telephone calls to VoIP. Here’s an honest look at the benefits and drawbacks of Voice over IP.
Pros of VoIP include:
- Lower cost – The price is lower than typical phone bills.
- Higher-quality sound – With uncompressed data, audio is less muffled or fuzzy.
- Access for remote workers – Good for employees who work remotely as they have several options to call into meetings or communicate to other teammates.
- Added features – These features include call recording, queues, custom caller ID, or voicemail to email.
- Low international rates – When a landline makes an international call, it rents the wired circuit for the call to transfer overseas. VoIP doesn’t require a wired line and uses the internet to make calls, which means it’s treated like normal traffic and is less expensive.
Cons of VoIP include:
- Needs a high-speed internet connection – VoIP doesn’t work well on dial-up or satellite-based Internet connections. You’ll need at least 100 kbps (0.1 Mbps) per phone line.
- Emergency services limitations – In the unlikely event you need to call 911 from your VoIP phone, you need to tell the operator your actual location. The Voice over IP systems defaults to sending your company’s mailing address to public safety operators.
- Makes analog phones obsolete – Voice over IP uses new technology that doesn’t rely on analog signals. You’ll likely want to upgrade outdated phone handsets. Read our advice later to find out how you can get a free VoIP phone.
Is VoIP better than Traditional Phone Service?
The short answer to this question is a resounding yes. Traditional phone service often provides inferior voice quality and limited features at a much higher price. Larger businesses can suffer sticker shock when looking at the bill for traditional phone service too because supporting connectivity for multiple sites, remote workers, and field technicians can drive a bill through the roof.
VoIP phone service ensures calls with better voice quality, a greater array of features to support business activities, and flexible, scalable solutions that ensure every employee within the company is connected regardless of location. The only trick to leveraging the benefits of VoIP over traditional phone service is selecting the right provider with the best array of features and support.
Without a doubt, Voice over IP is an exciting way of managing your business. The importance of VoIP in Telecommuting or, better still, Teleworking cannot be over-emphasized. The present reality of time has called for an enhanced and flexible working culture. Employees’ being able to work effectively from home is a concern for most business owners. However, this is a far cheaper and more effective way of managing an enterprise than the conventional way.