So, what is VoIP and what can it do for your organization?
VoIP stands for Voice over IP Protocol. Instead of traditional telephone technologies and network it is enabled to use Internet technologies to transmit voice signals directly to the communications device. Basically, VoIP is phone service over the Internet. Here are some other names of VoIP: IP Telephony, Internet Telephony, Broadband Telephony, Broadband Phone and Voice over Broadband.
How to use, advantages and limitations of the VoIP system
For the end user, using VoIP won’t bring any difference as one will be able to connect directly with anyone needed. VoIP uses several options for the connection. One might use a computer with a microphone or a headset, a special VoIP phone, or a traditional phone (a special adapter is required). There are several ways for your call to get on the line: it can use a traditional phone line by employing special communications technology, cable or your wireless network. One thing to keep in mind, if you are using wireless network you should be using a solid, reliable technology to make your calls.
One of the biggest advantages of using VoIP is using it with someone who already has VoIP as well. In this case, both users won’t be paying anything for the communication service provider as they won’t need it! The only cost will be paying for a regular Internet Provider as if one was paying for the internet connection to the desktop PC or a laptop. Please, note if calling to land lines or in other words traditional phone service, a VoIP service provider will be required. Deploying and using VoIP service and technology is usually cheaper than using landlines or cell phone services, that’s one of the main reasons why many companies regardless the size choose to switch to VoIP.
One of the main questions for any type of organization is how to save money and achieve higher ROI? VoIP is one of those solutions where spending on it will be less than spending on traditional phone system. VoIP can send and receive both voice and data, totally eliminating the need to use the phone line.
Here are additional benefits that might not be available with the traditional telephone service:
· Ability to take your business number with you when on the road
· Access the phone system from the desktop PC or a laptop
· Mobile Calling
· Send telephone messages and faxes to the e-mail inbox
· Ability to have Multiple Phone Numbers
With all the great features there are several limitations as well:
One of the biggest challenges for VoIP technology is a limited internet connection. While VoIP is very cost effective and productive, having a low bandwidth slow network will impact drastically the quality of sound and data transition. Another issue with VoIP technology is in comparison with the traditional telephone systems service VoIP doesn’t have the same level of security.
Here are several terms to help you in understanding telecommunications jargon:
Gateway: A network interface that converts calls in real time from a public-switched telephone network (PSTN) to data on an IP network.
IP (Internet Protocol): The network layer protocol in the TCP (Transmission Control Protocol)/IP communications protocol suite that forms the foundation of the Internet and intranets.
PBX (Private Branch Exchange): PBX is a commonly used term for a private branch exchange – a telephone exchange system that serves one business. This switching system interconnects telephone extensions to each other as well as to the public-switched telephone network (PSTN).
POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service): A term which describes the voice-grade telephone service for basic residential and small business service connection to the public switched telephone network.
PSTN: Public-Switched Telephone Network. The traditional phone network.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol): A term for the family of technologies that use the Internet Protocol’s packet-switched connections to exchange voice, fax, and other forms of communication that have traditionally been carried over the traditional telephone network.
Softswitch: A programmable network switch that can process signaling for all types of packet protocols, including IP.
VPN (Virtual Private Network): Often used by companies to create WANs (Wide Area Networks) that cover large geographic areas. VPNs let IP packets travel securely over a public IP network by encrypting all traffic from one network to another.
WAN (Wide Area Network): A network that covers a wide geographic region, such as a state or country.