VOIP phone systems have been around since at least 1995 and since then they have been an invaluable tool in how we communicate online. VOIP systems work play a big role in how so many modern businesses stay successful these days. Here’s how:
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What is VOIP?
VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP). The system is a set of practices and methods to engage in phone calls with voice and audio, but instead of using a traditional telephone company, VOIP occurs through an internet connection.
How VOIP Works
VOIP phone systems require an internet connection to facilitate phone calls. The VOIP system will send the callers voice real time via the internet and the voice is then converted to analog that the recipient can hear.
VOIP phone systems need to have a specific online service provider to function much like how regular phone calls need a phone company to facilitate phone calls. However, because it happens online, the VOIP phone system will instead convert your voice into a compressed digital signal. It then sends it over the internet in real time and the voices are uncompressed and turned into analog sound that the recipient can hear.
- Lower cost of installation
- Lower cost of long distance calls
- Increased accessibility
- Complete portability
- Clear voice quality
- Little use of internet connection
- Softphone compatibility
Cost of VOIP
VOIP phone systems have become very popular with many large scale businesses because VOIP based phone calls are more cost efficient than using traditional telephone services. Because VOIP phone systems work entirely online, they do not require copper wires to be installed in any offices, which saves on both time and money.
VOIP also allows for much cheaper long distance calls than using traditional phone companies. Additionally, it allows employees working remotely or at home to easily stay in contact with the head office.
The digital audio data in a VOIP call is converted and sent through the internet. This process takes up only a small amount of bandwidth (at most 5 MBps up and down). The average internet speed of the UK in 2019 was 64 MBps (according to the BBC), more than enough for a VOIP system to provide clear phone calls.
Because VOIP is entirely based online, companies that use these phone systems also have the benefit of storing their data on the cloud. This adds an extra layer of privacy and security—features you don’t typically get when making calls through a standard landline service.
What is a Softphone?
Softphones are not physical devices, they are programs installed on a smartphone, tablet, or computer. A softphone contains the features of a desk phone. While a desk phone is stationary, a softphone allows you to take your phone line with you wherever you go.
How Does a VOIP Phone System Work?
Knowing the details of a VOIP phone system is going to be necessary if you are considering using it for your own business. Fortunately, the VOIP protocol is not as complex as it may seem at first. It’s also quite flexible and will give you opportunities to make phone calls in ways you may not have initially expected.
ATA, IP Phones, and PC to PC
There are actually three main ways that VOIP phone systems can be set up: ATA, IP phones and PC to PC.
Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA)
With ATA, which stands for Analog Telephone Adaptor, connects a standard phone to your computer. It’s currently considered the most popular and simplest VOIP method. This ATA adapter is essentially an analog to digital converter. It’s like the opposite of a digital to analog converter, which is what many audio devices use in TVs or audio equipment to deliver sound. ATA set ups are very straightforward, which is why they are so commonly used.
With the IP phone setup, a special phone that is designed for use with VOIP phone systems is used instead. These dedicated phones typically already come with the components and features that are found with VOIP setups, including headsets or handsets. One of the defining characteristics of IP phones is that they have an ethernet cable port unlike standard phones. These phones are plugged in directly into a router so that the online voice calls can take place.
Computer to Computer
With computer to computer set ups, which are the easiest and sometimes cheapest to use in large businesses, all you need is VOIP software, a mic, speakers, and a soundcard. Plus, an internet connection, of course. With this method you usually don’t even have to pay for a VOIP service regardless of short or long-distance calls.
Additional VOIP Features
Many different VOIP phone systems also have a wide variety of special features that help make conducting business much smoother. VOIP phone systems will often give you many of the same features that traditional landline providers will charge you extra for. This includes caller ID, three-way phone calls, call waiting, call transfer and more.
But what really makes VOIP phone systems special is that they have features that aren’t available with standard landline setups. This includes forwarding calls to a specifically designated phone number, sending phone calls directly to your voice mail, and many other filtering options. The features you receive are dependent on which VOIP provider you end up selecting. But in general, VOIP service can be an invaluable addition to any business looking to optimize its performance.
Contact OneTouchServices for VOIP System Installation
When any business reaches a certain size, organization and management of both data and staff become more of a priority. A VOIP phone system makes all of these things easier to handle and is precisely why VOIP has proven to be a fantastic tool for thousands of major businesses around the world.