Published on January 15th, 2019 | by Bibhuranjan0
A complete guide to VoIP
In today’s business world, traditional telephone lines are on their way out and VoIP is on the rise. Modern businesses expect more feature-rich communication solutions; from video conferencing to instant messaging, professionals are looking for an offering with more than just voice calls. A lot of businesses are finding this solution through VoIP systems, which offer the advantage of converging data and voice networks. In fact, VoIP has been named the most successful technology of the last decade. If you’re seeking for some more context around what exactly VoIP is and what it offers, look no further. Here we’ve compiled a complete guide to VoIP:
What is VoIP?
VoIP is an acronym for Voice over Internet Protocol, but can also be referred to as IP Telephony, Internet Telephony, or Internet Calling. VoIP allows the transmission of vibrations of the voice traffic to flow over IP-based networks as opposed to the traditional public switched telephone network (PSTN). In simpler terms, VoIP is an alternate communication service that allows business professionals to make phone calls over the internet rather than through traditional phone lines.
How does VoIP Work?
Voice over IP sends and receives ‘packets’ of digital audio data between any two servers in the world using their internet protocol connections. These packets travel like any other type of data, such as e-mail, over the public internet or any private IP network. This happens by first converting voice through an analog telephone adapter (ATA) from an analog signal to a digital signal. Calls through VoIP can be received by traditional telephone lines worldwide, as well as other VoIP systems. On the other hand, VoIP to VoIP calls can travel entirely over the internet. Because your voice is changed to digital, other features can be included in your basic calling plan without raising the price.
Why use VoIP?
- Low cost
- High functionality
- Tool flexibility
- Backup plan
The most commonly touted benefit to using VoIP is the low cost and savings that come with it. The savings most notably stem from the use of a single network to carry both voice and data, rather than multiple different sources. These savings have reportedly caused staff productivity and customer responsiveness to increase, ultimately increasing profits and revenue as well. A lot of users currently under-utilize their data services anyways, and utilizing VoIP is a great way to ensure you maximize data usage rather than paying for two different things you aren’t fully using. Other than your initial internet service charges, there are no extra costs for using VoIP, so phone calls (even internationally) can be seen by users as free. Another factor that saves you money is the lack of a contract required for VoIP services, whereas phone services would require a monthly payment. Also, the initial deployment of such a system is cheap and fast, as it doesn’t require the implementation of new hardware. Actually, more often than not, VoIP solutions are set up as simply as plugging connections into your computer and clicking ‘go’.
The other obvious benefit to utilizing VoIP services is high functionality. When using VoIP, the requirement for separate voice and data networks disappears and allows you to handle all of your business in one place. Through VoIP, incoming phone calls are automatically routed to your phone wherever you plug it into the network, which means you are able to receive incoming and make outgoing calls anywhere you can access the internet. Keep in mind, also, that you are not limited to making and receiving calls through an IP network. VoIP providers also make it simple for your employees to transition devices thanks to apps that allow you to set up a phone extension on any mobile device. This makes the ability to work remotely a breeze whether you are on the road visiting clients, traveling abroad, or home sick because you have the ability to access all work tools from your personal device. VoIP gives the user the option to receive and place calls on the regular telephone network as well, if you prefer to use that in the office.
Voice over IP gives your business the freedom to efficiently control your networks by picking and choosing which tools your company needs. Many communication service companies allow you to customize your communication package and include whatever tools you need, including
voice messages to email, call forwarding, logs of incoming and outgoing calls, caller ID, messaging platforms, video conferencing capabilities and traditional phone services. These offerings boast the freedom to include one tool and exclude another based on the everyday needs of your unique business. This flexibility also allows your business to grow seamlessly, because of the opportunity to increase or decrease the amount of active channels on your network at the click of a button. Many of these special features are great tools for small businesses who rely on their phone service to be more of an information center rather than simply a means to make phone calls.
With virtual phone systems in place, your business avoids the risk of losing profits due to service outages or other unexpected incidents thanks to having a built-in backup plan. The costs that come along with lost phone service could be detrimental depending on how many hours your business is without service, and then possible repairs as well. Luckily, VoIP systems allow you to reduce this negative impact on your business by giving you the ability to redirect calls from landlines to the internet in response to an outage. As another preemptive measure, VoIP allows you to pre-set routing plans in anticipation for outages or other problems.
How to get started with VoIP
- Check to make sure you have a strong internet connection: Since all calls will be made over the internet, having a strong connection with adequate bandwidth is critical. Run speed tests online to double check and make sure you have the bandwidth necessary to support VoIP.
- Choose what type and provider of VoIP service you want: Before choosing and subscribing to a VoIP service, determine what your company needs out of the technology – consider your company’s activities, life patterns, habits and budget. From there, research different service providers and look at reviews of each to determine which will best suit your company.
- Get your equipment: Depending on what needs you determined before, the equipment you need to invest in can be very cheap or more significant. If you opt for PC-to-PC communication, the only equipment you’ll need besides your computers will be headsets or microphones and speakers. On the other hand, for hardware-based VoIP, you’ll need some sort of phone adapter and phone set.
- Set up your VoIP: As mentioned before, setting VoIP systems up and getting them running is simple and fast. With each solution comes a set of instructions for setting up, but a quick run-down here can help as well. For software-based VoIP, simply download the application, install it on your machine, register for a new user name and number, add contacts and immediately start communicating. On the other hand, with hardware-based VoIP, plug your phone into your ATA, and plug that into your internet router. From there, follow the configuration instructions and start communicating.