Many businesses, large and small, are giving up their traditional landlines and switching to VoIP for their communication, as the advantages become more apparent. But what is VoIP? VoIP is an acronym for Voice over Internet Protocol. Also referred to as Internet calling, IP telephony, cloud phones and virtual telephony, VoIP uses “voice packets” for communicating.
Simply put, VoIP allows people to communicate through the internet rather than a telephone network. But VoIP isn’t just voice calls anymore. VoIP is packed with features sure to provide your business with a competitive edge over others.
How VoIP Works
VoIP works as long as there is a stable internet connection. You can use any IP-enabled device to make a VoIP call including your desk phone, mobile phone, or desktop. When you make a call with VoIP your voice, your IP address, and your recipient’s IP address are all converted into data, called “voice packets” and sent to the person you’re calling. On the recipients end those voice packets are then converted back to a voice transmission.
Before VoIP, There Was POTS
Before VoIP became popular, we had the Plain Old Telephone Service or POTS. These are the traditional telephone lines we’re all used to; also commonly called landlines. POTS lines run over a network called the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) which uses circuit-switched telephony between two points for the duration of a call. Because these circuits need to be open for a call to be successful, it often costs more money to maintain for the providers and especially for the end user companies that rely on POTS daily.
How VoIP Evolved
When VoIP was first introduced, it provided businesses with next-level communication. But at the time it still relied on Internet that was connected through dial-up — which meant there was still the need for a leased phone line. Also during its early days, the transmission of data with voice was impossible, meaning voice calls were the only option.
Once broadband internet arrived, it opened doors for VoIP, stemming from the availability to be line-free. Then over the years, it evolved, changing how people communicated. Today people can make video calls, have calls routed to their specific phone, have voicemails and faxes converted to emails, and more; the features VoIP provides seem nearly endless.
Lastly, most of the major phone service providers are now using VoIP; local service providers CenturyLink, Comcast and Verizon have all made the switch. They don’t always make it clear that they have switched to the newer technology, but in most cases that is what they are using and selling to their customers. So, you may already be using VoIP without knowing it!
What is VoIP? The Basic Definition in Portland OR and Vancouver WA
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