Upgrading an old phone system to a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) system can bring numerous benefits to your business. One of the primary reasons businesses and individuals switch to VOIP is to save money. International and long-distance calls are generally cheaper on VOIP than through traditional phone lines. As long as you have internet access, you can use your VOIP system anywhere. This is particularly useful for businesses with remote or travelling employees. With a VOIP phone system, an employee travelling in another country could call the U.S. for the same cost as calling from next door. VOIP services often come with a range of features like call forwarding, voicemail, voicemail-to-email, caller ID, three-way calling, and more without any additional charges.
VOIP in a telephone system
VOIP can integrate with other business applications like CRM systems, email, fax, and web browsers. This allows, for example, clicking to dial directly from a contacts list or receiving voicemail messages in your email inbox. Users can switch between devices or even numbers. For instance, a VOIP call can be received on a computer, switched to a phone headset, or even transferred to a cell phone, all without losing the call. Traditional phone systems can require significant investments if you need to scale up, especially for businesses. With VOIP, scaling up or down is much easier, often only requiring the purchase of additional handsets or extending the service subscription. With a good internet connection and a quality VOIP provider, voice clarity can be as good as or even better than traditional telephony. Many VOIP services offer video calls and conferencing, which is becoming increasingly important in today’s business world, especially with the rise of remote work.
For businesses, VOIP can be part of a unified communications strategy, bringing together various communication tools, such as voice, video, data, and instant messaging, into one platform. VOIP can reduce the number of devices and physical resources (like wiring and phone hardware) needed, leading to a smaller carbon footprint.
VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a technology that allows voice communication and multimedia sessions to be conducted over the Internet, rather than through traditional telephone networks. Here’s a simplified breakdown of how VoIP works:
- Voice Signal Conversion: When you speak into a VoIP-enabled device (like a VoIP phone, smartphone, or computer with VoIP software), your voice is converted into digital data. This involves capturing the analog voice signal and converting it into a digital format.
- Data Packetization: The digital data is then segmented into packets. These packets are small chunks of data that are easier to send over a network.
- Data Compression and Encoding: To make the transmission more efficient, the digital data is compressed and encoded using codecs. Codecs are algorithms that minimize the size of the voice data, making it quicker to send while maintaining voice quality.
- Routing: The packets are then routed over the internet using IP (Internet Protocol). The VoIP service provider, or the infrastructure in place, determines the best route for the packets to reach their destination.
- Arrival and Reassembly: Once the packets reach their destination (the receiving VoIP device), they may not arrive in the exact order they were sent due to the nature of internet routing. The receiving device reassembles these packets into the original digital data stream.
- Conversion Back to Voice: The digital data is then converted back into an analog signal, producing a sound that can be heard by the receiver.
- Jitter Buffering and Error Correction: The internet isn’t always consistent. Packets can be delayed or lost. VoIP systems use jitter buffers to deal with packets that arrive at slightly different times. Some advanced systems also incorporate error correction techniques to handle missing or corrupted packets.
- End of Call: When the call ends, the session is terminated, and resources are freed up for other calls.
- ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter): This device lets you connect a standard telephone to your computer or your network to use for VoIP. It takes the analog signal from your traditional phone and converts it into digital data for transmission over the Internet.
- IP Phones: These are specialized phones that connect directly to your router and have all the hardware and software necessary for VoIP built in.
- Computer-to-Computer: This is one of the simplest forms of VoIP, with software (like Skype or Zoom) installed on two computers handling the entire process.
VoIP uses multiple protocols, including the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP), and various others, to control and manage voice traffic.
- Cost Savings: Often, VoIP is cheaper than traditional telephony, especially for long-distance or international calls.
- Flexibility: Calls can be made wherever there’s an internet connection, making it convenient for mobile or remote work.
- Rich Features: VoIP systems often come with features like voicemail-to-email, call forwarding and video conferencing.
In summary, VoIP takes the voice signal, converts it into digital packets, sends those packets over the internet, and reconverts them into sound at the other end. This tech-driven approach has revolutionized the telecommunication industry.