What is VOIP?
VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol, and as a general term refers to the process of making phone calls through an internet connection as opposed to regular landline or mobile. For many it can provide a suitable solution for inter-business communication as well as other communication purposes, and as a service has become more popular, as it has the ability to be augmented with various different applications, working with the user in mind.
VOIP also refers to the technology used to convert voice into a digital signal, allowing individuals to make a call directly from a computer, VOIP phone, or data-driven service.
VOIP calls can be made through various sources including a phone or VOIP adapter, within a computer, or through installations such as Skype, Google Hangouts and Facetime.
How Does VOIP Work?
VOIP technology works by configuring analogue signals into digital data.
The process of converting audio voice signals into digital packets is known as codecs. Audio voice signals are encoded as data and transmitted via IP, across a LAN (local area network) or online.
If the data needs to be decoded or decompressed, this is also handled by codecs. The process of actually making a VOIP call doesn’t have to be that much different to a standard phone call and to make the call, hardware (headset, microphone, etc) is used, or a software-based VOIP phone is used.
Most VOIP calls will also let you use voicemail, make internet calls, or transfer tasks. A traditional phone handset is replaced by the interface of software-based VOIP phones or programs.
- ATA – this utilises a device called an Analogue Telephone Adaptor, that allows users to connect a standard to phone to a computer/ internet connection, that then uses VOIP. The ATA is used to convert an analogue signal to digital data, enabling the call to be carried through the internet. Some ATAs may require additional software, loaded onto the host computer.
- Computer to computer – when using VOIP, this technique is the most straightforward as it transfers digital data from one source to another without the need to convert back into analogue. There is no charge for computer to computer calls, and you need minimal equipment to carry this out; the VOIP software itself, microphone, speakers, sound card and internet connection. This would preferably be via ethernet cable to maintain a secure connection throughout the phone call.
- IP phones – these are a type of phone that connects directly to the router with all the necessary hardware and software required to carry out the call. This ethernet connector means there is no charge for the calls.
What Do You Need to Set Up VOIP?
- Internet connection
- Wired ethernet router
- Computer – this will act as your PBX server
- PBX server software (PBX Private Branch Exchange is an on-premises physical piece of hardware, that connects many landline phones, and can cost a large amount of money) –
- VOIP provider
What are the benefits of VOIP?
VOIP technology can be a practical, time-saving and cost-saving solution for businesses, and, with advancements allowing for high-quality connectivity and reliable service, more and more businesses are seeing the light and opting for VOIP systems as opposed to traditional phone calls.
As advancements and improvements only stand to make it even easier to use VOIP, businesses big and small can both benefit.
Benefits of VOIP technology
VoIP removes the need for a drawn-out installation. Rather than installing hefty hardware which could cut off your communications during the process, installing a VoIP phone system is as simple as downloading software onto an IP phone.
Maximises call features
As well as incorporating new features, a VoIP phone also considers the traditional communicative options such as call transfer, call hold, call hunt or conference calling.
Drives business costs down
Installing VoIP will help drive business costs down, as there are no hefty hardware installation costs. Additionally, international calls that would usually incur heavy fees can be made with no extra cost, a feature that international businesses can truly capitalise and benefit from.
VoIP integrates easily with existing systems, as it is internet-based. Calls and communications can be conducted with ease without the need for hardware, and users can switch between their VoIP phone and other features of their infrastructure quickly.
Flexibility for remote workers
One of the reasons that VoIP has grown in popularity is its ability to bring flexibility to a workplace, particularly for employees working at home or overseas. All that is required with VoIP is an internet connection, meaning teams can stay in contact and stay connected, for a low cost, wherever they are in the world.
More secure telephony network
VoIP networks are more secure than other telephone lines due to standardised encryption protocols. Working with a suitable VoIP provider will ensure all malicious calls and potential threats are monitored and addressed accordingly.
Flexibility to scale up resources
VoIP brings flexibility to your business, enabling and catering for growth and scalability. You can expand your VoIP network with ease, in accordance with your business growth and requirements.
VOIP for Business
Businesses need a high quality, reliable service for communications, both internally as well as externally. Client calls or enquiries will need a secure line, and businesses, meanwhile, won’t want to be slowed down by a phone network that’s unreliable, slow and difficult to navigate. VOIP systems can provide these services, which are externally managed by the provider, who is also available for support should issues occur.
When looking for a suitable VOIP provider, you should ensure your provider provides features that work for your business and internal processes. This may include:
- Instant messaging
- Call queuing and call back feature
- Security and monitoring of suspicious third parties
- CRM compatible
- Office software compatible (Outlook, Skype)
- Recording calls
- Protection from malicious outbound calls
What’s more, as more business is conducted on the go, with many working remotely or needing to call others while on the road, VOIP systems can be a great choice. There is no need to rely on traditional phone lines, and if VOIP is set up with your computer or laptop, no matter where you are, a call can come through and it’s business as usual.
Internet telephony systems consider the user, and the technology is developed to keep up with the demands of day to day working life in 2020 and beyond, where a traditional single phone line to an office is, if anything, rarer than the far more popular alternative VOIP offers.
VOIP technology was developed to make businesses processes easier for those on the move, making connectivity easier than ever before.
There are various options of VOIP Telephony services for business, including the EVE VOIP software from CiS. Head to our business communications section to explore the full range of Telephony services, or get in touch to find out more.
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