Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP as it is more commonly known, is a system which enables phone calls to be made via the internet. Many businesses are choosing to use VoIP systems, thanks to their low costs, flexibility, and great features. For those who are wondering exactly how these phone systems work and whether their business could benefit, we have put together this useful guide.
VoIP systems are commonly referred to as cloud-based phone systems and virtual phone systems, so you may have already heard of this technology. Traditional landline networks relied upon circuit switching, with circuits switched at a private branch exchange (PBX) to connect calls, with the public switched telephone network (PTSN) initiating and terminating the calls.
In comparison, a VoIP system is capable of converting analogue voice signals into digital signals. These signals are saved as small packets of data which are sent via a network and reassembled into the correct order when they reach the call receiver. This data is sent via an internet connection, which means that your business will need a strong and stable WiFi connection.
There are a variety of VoIP providers with each offering differing service types in terms of how the calls are made. Many businesses choose to adapt their current telephone to support VoIP, which will allow calls to be made via telephone to telephone. Although, some choose to use an IP enabled phone which does not require an adapter. VoIP is known for its flexibility, so there are also services which support calls between two computers and also calls between a computer and a telephone network.
There are gateway providers which enable those with a VoIP system to speak to those with traditional landline numbers. These gateways provide your business with a telephone number, which means you can make calls and receive calls from regular mobile and landline numbers. The VoIP service is designed mainly for VoIP to VoIP calls, so typically calls outside of this will not be free and your business may need to pay a monthly fee for the gateway service.
Although there is a charge, typically it is much less than the cost most landline providers charge for calls. This especially applies to businesses which need to contact international numbers, as the cost of the call is likely to be the same regardless of the area.
The equipment you will need depends on the type of VoIP system you are using, as some providers may require you to use specific equipment. In general, most businesses will need to use an IP enabled phone or to convert their current telephones using an adapter. These phones will allow your business to make calls to both VoIP and non-VoIP contacts. The phone is connected directly to your router or modem, so you can make calls without needing your computer.
Many providers offer these telephones as part of their service, with some also offering dual-purpose phones which also allow calls via a conventional landline. Generally, the more feature-rich the handset, the more it is likely to cost. However, as VoIP telephones increase in popularity, the cost is often comparable to traditional landline phones.
If you plan on making VoIP calls via a computer, you will need to install the correct software, ensure speakers and a microphone are working, or connect a headset. In addition, many businesses also use their mobile phones for business calls, which will need the relevant app and the ability to connect to the internet via 4G, 5G or a Wi-Fi connection.
One of the greatest benefits of VoIP is the ability to link various forms of communication technology. Many businesses find that it is much easier to communicate both internally and externally, with features available such as instant messaging, video conferencing, voicemail to email and access to cloud-based services.
In addition to physical technology, your business will need an internet connection. The type of broadband connection you require will depend on the amount of people which will be on the phone at once and how the internet is being used by other people within the business. Generally, VoIP calls only require a fraction of the total bandwidth, however you will need a stable and reliable connection.
Here at BusinessComparison, we know that price and service are the most important factors to your business, which is why we have partnered with the leading VoIP providers across the UK. We can help your business compare VoIP providers, the features they offer and their prices, so your business can find the best provider. Our service is completely free of charge and our expert team are able to answer all your VoIP queries. To find out more, please contact us today.