Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP is a technology that allows people to make phone calls over the internet, instead of a legacy analog phone line. With VoIP you can make calls using your laptop, tablet, smartphone or VoIP-compatible office phone hardware.
VoIP was originally developed in 1995 by VocalTec Communications, and has soared in popularity in recent years thanks to the stability and reliability of up-to-date broadband connectivity and the mass shift to remote and hybrid working brought about by the pandemic. It’s now the number one choice for most modern businesses when upgrading their phone systems.
VoIP is a phone system that uses the internet to make and receive phone calls, rather than the regular landline network. Traditional phone systems carry voice signals using analog phone lines, which requires legacy technologies such as Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) or Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), both of which are set to be decommissioned.
VoIP, on the other hand, converts your voice into digital signals, which are then sent to a business phone service provider using your internet connection before it’s routed to your customer’s phone. This process happens nearly instantly which is why VoIP sound quality is often better than traditional phone calls.
A VoIP phone is a dedicated piece of office hardware that uses IP technology to transmit calls. While it might look and perform like a traditional telephone, a VoIP phone makes calls over the internet - converting your voice into packed data that is pushed out over the internet and played back for the other person to hear.
Unlike legacy phone hardware, a VoIP phone will work no matter where you are, and as long as you have internet, you’ll be able to make and receive calls. You don’t need a physical phone in order to make calls either, as these can also be made via an app installed on your smartphone or computer.
There are numerous examples of VoIP, including Unified Communications (UC), Over the Top Communications applications such as Skype, Voice over Wi-Fi, Voice of LTE, and SIP Trunking.
Unified communications (UC) is a term for the integration of multiple enterprise communication tools, such as voice calling, video conferencing on Zoom and Microsoft Teams, instant messaging (IM), and content sharing, into a single, streamlined interface, with the goal of improving user experience (UX) and productivity.
SIP Trunking, on the other hand, is a digital alternative to the analog phone. This technology allows organizations to connect multiple channels directly to an IP-enabled Private Branch Exchange (PBX), enabling employees to make long-distance phone calls via the internet.
A VoIP number is simply a conventional telephone number that is assigned to a user, rather than a specific telephone line. Virtual telephone numbers look and work the same as any other number, and take the form of a string of digitals that can be entered on the dial pad to connect a call.
A VoIP provider is an entity that offers VoIP services directly to consumers or businesses, and if you want to enjoy all of the benefits that the technology has to offer, it’s crucial that you have one for your business.
A VoIP provider will help you ensure that your employees understand how to use the technology, and will ensure you’re on the right plan for you and your business. Most modern VoIP providers will also offer additional benefits beyond VoIP, such as entire business communications solutions that enable your business to send files over the internet, manage and route all incoming calls, and host and join video conferences no matter where you are.
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