VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) dates back to the 1970s when the U.S. Department of Defense experimented with it briefly.
With the emergence of the Internet, VoIP has returned to challenge traditional landline phone systems. VoIP is so popular that it is poised to transform telephony over the coming years.
One reason for VoIP’s popularity is lower call charges. Calls are often free because the caller has already paid through their broadband subscription. VoIP allows you to call any telephone in the world, even if the other party is not using VoIP.
Another reason for VoIP’s popularity is the number of features that come bundled with a VoIP phone system. Again, many of these are free, because VoIP uses digital technology. Voicemail, caller ID, and call routing would all cost far more to provide using traditional analog telephony.
Analog vs. Digital
So how does VoIP work?
With a traditional landline phone system, the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) uses circuit switching via analog phone lines.
With VoIP, your voice call is converted into packets of data, which include the participants’ voice signals and IP addresses. These data packets are sent back and forth over the Internet at high speed using a broadband connection. Each time the data reaches the end of the line, it’s converted into a signal that’s understood by the receiver. If you are calling a non-VoIP user, the signal converted is the same as a regular telephone signal.
In addition to leveraging IP, VoIP makes use of RTP (Real-Time Protocol), which ensures the on-time delivery of data packets.
How Do You Make A VoIP Call?
There are three ways to make a VoIP call: direct from a connected PC, Mac, or connected device; using a VoIP-specific phone; or using a traditional phone equipped with a special adapter (ATA). If you’re using a phone, you don’t need your PC, just so long as your broadband connection is active.
When calling from a computer, you can continue using it for other activities while you make your VoIP call. You’ll find an integrated headset is a useful accessory when making calls from your PC, Mac, or other connected devices.
Why Businesses Love VoIP
VoIP use has spread throughout the corporate world over the past decade. Many businesses are eager to exploit the cheaper calls and the efficiency of digital telephony.
Most businesses make VoIP calls across a privately managed IP network, which is more secure and improves service quality.
In call centers, VoIP is particularly useful, because it gives call center agents more flexibility regarding where they work. In fact, there is a range of business applications where VoIP telephony can be used to streamline workflows.
Efficiencies are found by using a single internet connection to carry both voice and data. Different technologies can be integrated and control centralized, reducing overheads.
There’s no doubt that VoIP is the telephony of the future. Its lower call costs and impressive range of functions signal the end of analog landlines. Traditional phone companies might as well just hang it up now.