Introduction to VoIP
This introduction to VoIP will help you understand how it can benefit your business, work more flexibly and save you money.
Traditionally, making phone calls relies on a dedicated network that connects your phone directly to the one you were calling via a range of cables and exchange apparatus (PSTN, Public Switched Telephone Network). You’ve probably seen old photos of operators physically plugging wires into sockets. Nowadays, however, that’s done electronically, but conventional phone systems still make a direct connection, although occasionally a satellite link may be involved for international calls. In all cases, you’re charged for calls according to the duration of the connection with differing charges for different counties throughout the world.
Hold on, however. What about the internet? That allows you to view websites all over the world without any extra cost. Why can’t you make voice calls using that? And why isn’t it replacing the old telephone technology? Well, the answer is you can, and it is. Let’s have a look at how and why.
What is Voip?
If you use the internet you’ve no doubt encountered Skype, you may even have used it to talk to your auntie in Australia. Skype uses a technology called Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP for short). This means that your call is split up into a series of small chunks of data – called packets – that are sent to your auntie over the internet. Using this method each packet is able to take a different route in order to reach its destination in the fastest time. There’s no fixed link between and your auntie.
Skype is most people’s introduction to VoIP, partly because it comes installed as standard on the latest versions of Windows. But VoIP on a computer isn’t the only way you can use VoIP. It’s possible to get VoIP telephone handsets so you can make calls sitting at your desk, slumped on the sofa or standing in a draughty hallway as normal. You can also use it on smartphones and tablets allowing you to call via the internet and save on roaming and talk time charges.
The big advantage to using VoIP is that it’s cheaper. In fact, when you’re Skyping auntie it doesn’t cost anything at all if she is also using Skype. But you’re not restricted merely to talking to other VoIP users; you can make calls to conventional phones via VoIP too, and you can do so at a far lower cost than a conventional call, whether they’re overseas or just down the road.
VoIP for business
No introduction to VoIP would be complete without looking at how it can be used for business. Many firms rely heavily on telephone systems – those with call centres for example – and they are increasingly turning to VoIP to control their call costs.
Cost savings aren’t the only advantage. The latest IP-based systems offer most of the functions you’d expect from a private branch exchange (PABX), including caller ID, call forwarding, voice mail, conference calling and so on.
Of course, relying on VoIP calling means you’re relying heavily on your internet connection. For heavy users, a conventional broadband connection may not be adequate because it doesn’t offer synchronous speeds and it can suffer from contention at peak times. As a result, business users, following an initial introduction to VoIP and its benefits, often turn to a fibre Ethernet or Ethernet First Mile connection in order to establish a more reliable connection.
Ethernet offers, a fast, synchronous connection to your internet service provider that is dedicated to your use. This is ideal for VoIP uses as it means you won’t suffer from variations in service quality at different times of the day. Using an Ethernet connection also makes VoIP calling more secure as there’s less chance of the call packets being intercepted. Find out more about Ethernet leased line deals.
If you’re relying on VoIP for your business calls, you become heavily dependent on your internet service provider. It’s therefore important to have a service level agreement (SLA) that sets out the levels of uptime and the target fix times for any problems that you may encounter.
Disadvantages of VoIP
It would be remiss of us to leave a discussion of VoIP without a look at its downsides. Call quality can be lower than with conventional phones although the technology in this area is improving all the time and indeed BT has announced plans to switch its entire network to IP technology by 2025.
Take action for the future by checking out the latest BT leased line packages.
Reliance on the internet for calling also means that you need to guard against issues such as distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that could seek to disrupt your connection. You may also decide that the power supply to your networking equipment should be protected against outages using an uninterruptible power supply (UPS).
If you want to improve your internet, or you aren’t sure which service would be right for you, call our team on 0808 115 4281 or get in touch online today so our team can help find the best solution for you and your business.Call Us On 0808 115 4281