VOIP this, VOIP that, what is VOIP? If you’re like me you’ve probably heard VOIP more then once recently, it is fast becoming one of the wider spread technological crazes sweeping around the world.
VOIP is but one of many names for this particular technology, VOIP is an acronym for Voice Over Internet Protocol, other names it goes by are; IP Telephony, Internet Telephony, Broadband Telephony, Broadband Phone, and Voice over Broadband.
Now that we know its many faces we can being to understand what it is, basically it is the routing of voice conversations over the internet or any other IP-based network, as opposed to the traditional method through physical phone lines.
How is this possible? Alas it is not wizardry or any other kind of magic, but a simple process that converts the analogue signals from the physical phone lines into small IP packets that can be transferred over the internet.
The signal is converted to these IP packets during the outbound flow and then converted back to analogue when received on a traditional phone at the other end, this process can be performed by a separately purchased analogue to IP converter which connects into existing phone systems.
In addition the more common solutions are the corporate based systems, such as the Cisco Router range, that can perform all VOIP functionality and accommodate calls to traditional phone systems automatically.
Now this sounds amazing, but how is it actually better then the normal phone systems we’ve been using for years? The real benefit come in the added features, several of which are features that normal telecommunications providers charge for, i.e. Video calling, call forwarding, automatic redial, and caller ID.
There is also a huge range of added functionality like being able to have multiple lines on a single phone, utilising caller ID for only specific incoming calls, advanced voicemail access, the list goes on, all of which is easily implemented on the digital system. If that wasn’t enough, calls between compatible VOIP systems are free!
The other main benefits are physical, instead of having the traditional setup of voice and data lines installed, now you only need data lines, this counts for physical line installed to the office, as well as the network cabling inside the office, most VOIP phones run off the same Ethernet cables that Computers run off, this allows you to consolidate your network and telephony systems onto just one cabling structure.
Considering these points and the ever advancing society we live in, there is little doubt that VOIP is the future of telecommunications.