VoIP is an acronym for Voice over Internet Protocol, which, put simply, means a telephone service over the internet.
For those who have a good quality internet connection, it is possible to use VoIP as a phone service delivered through your internet connection rather than through a phone (land) line.
How does VoIP work?
Traditional phone networks use circuit switching, whereby when a call is made, circuits are ‘switched’ in an exchange, creating a connection between the caller and person being called.
With VoIP, traditional analog voice calls are broken down into packets of data. Like any other kind of data, such as an email, the packets travel over the internet and are reassembled at the end of the line.
There are four main VoIP usages:
- Computer to Computer: operated using the likes of an instant messenger (i.e. Skype)
- Computer to Telephone: When the caller uses a headset connected to a computer – often used in call centres
- Telephone to Telephone: Callers can use an adapter connected to an ordinary telephone that connects it to the internet
- IP Phone to Telephone: An IP phone is a phone that is automatically connected to the internet and so does not require an adapter.
Benefits to using VoIP
- Offers significantly cheaper calls than traditional landline services, with a lot of providers offering free international calls
- For businesses it means that you have only one supplier for voice and data, providing greater efficiency, and any computer systems and applications can be linked to help streamline
- VoIP also offers lots of different features, such as voicemail to email transcriptions, call routing and call screening.