What is Telephony?

Typically, the terms telephony, IP telephony, and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) are used on an interchangeable basis. However, the terms aren’t equal. Telephony us a grander definition of long0distance communication. While VoIP is simply a subset of IP Telephony. If that sounds confusing, don’t worry we’re going to break down what telephony actually is, and what it encompasses, below.

Essentially, IP Telephony is a set of technologies that utilize the IP protocol to transfer voice, fax, video, and other forms of communication over the internet. The information travels in data packets over LAN connections or the internet.

Below we examine what telephony actually is, it’s most common uses, and how it differs from more readily known technologies like VoIP, and PBX.

What is Telephony?

Telephony denotes technologies that enable long-distance voice communication. In recent years this word has taken on a new meaning with recent advancements in technology. This term encompasses a wide range of technologies, from phone calls to mobile calls, internet calls, voicemail, and video conferencing.

With so many new media formats available today, telephony extends well beyond just placing phone calls. Faxing is telephony, as it typically uses phone lines and phone numbers to transmit messages. There’s also IP faxing, which uses IP networks and an internet connection to send faxes. Finally, you also have video conferring which uses IP networks along with real-time video.

What is Mobile Telephony?

Almost every person today carries a mobile phone in their pockets, effectively making telephony mainstream. Most mobile phones utilize a GSM network to make phone calls and send messages. However, there are also various VoIP apps that enable users to make very cheap or even free phone calls. Mobile VoIP, 3G, and Wi-Fi are changing the way that calls are placed across the globe.

What is IP Telephony?

In a basic sense the word telephony refers to telephones and that style of communication. While, IP technology refers to the digital side of communication. If we look at these technologies combined its digital communication over the internet.

Telephony is the process of two different individuals using technology to help facilitate the communication over a long distance. IP telephony is this same process, but is specifically carried out over the internet.

IP telephony is growing in popularity and has even replaced a lot of traditional phone systems, especially in the business environment. The main purpose of IP Telephony is to increase productivity in business environments.

How Does IP Telephony Work?

IP telephony uses certain internet protocols to make digital communication via the internet possible. By relying on IP technology, rather than traditional phone systems, you have the ability to build a robust business phone system and all the benefits that come with it.

As a whole, IP telephony allows for great advancements across the digital communication front. It can combine voice, data, video, and other media into a single cohesive system. This can lead to massive cost savings and improved workflow on the business side of things.

How Does IP Telephony Differ From VoIP?

IP Telephony refers to the bigger picture of digital communication over the internet. While VoIP is simply a subset of the communication that utilizes voice transmission over the internet. VoIP is commonly used to make phone calls over the internet. It’s typically bundled with business phone systems and allows for free, or very cheap, phone calls.

IP Telephony can simply be looked at as a process of communication over the internet, while VoIP specifically relates to making internet phone calls in this format. It’s a very subtle difference between the two, and it’s easy to see why the two terms have often been used interchangeably.

Advantages of VoIP

VoIP is probably the most popular and widespread use of telephony that exists today. Below are some of the reasons it’s exploded in popularity, especially in a business setting.

1. Cost Cutting

If you’re not using VoIP to make phone calls, then you’ll probably be using an old school phone line. With this setup you’re literally paying for every minute you’re on the phone. If you have a VoIP setup then you’ll typically be using a wi-fi connection to place calls. The monthly costs for a wi-fi connection can be much lower than paying on a per minute basis.

2. Allow for Multiple-Person Chat

When you’re using a traditional phone line you can only have two people speaking at any given time. With VoIP, you can have multiple people on the line at the same time. You can even host conference calls with your entire team. Since VoIP compresses the data into packets, this allows for more calls and information to be handled at once.

3. Cheaper Hardware

Setup for VoIP is incredibly cheap, all you need is a computer that’s connected to the internet, a proper sound card, speakers, and a microphone. Most modern computers are equipped with everything you need. Depending upon why you’re using VoIP you may not even need a separate telephone set, even for business purposes.

4. Goes Beyond Voice

Since VoIP is based on an IP, the underlying transfer protocol is the internet. By the nature of its setup, it can handle much more than simply voice to voice calls. For example, you can transfer images, videos, send text messages, all while you’re talking to another person via voice or even webcam.

5. Solid Set of Features

When you use VoIP you have a slew of features available that go well beyond just placing a call. For example, you’ll have access to additional features like caller ID, managing contact lists, voicemail, free or cheap calling to anywhere in the world, and more.

IP Telephony vs. PBX Connection

You’ll often hear PBX brought up in the same conversation as IP Telephony and VoIP. A PBX is a private telephone network that can be used within an organized to make inbound and outbound calls.

Most business phone systems currently utilize a hybrid PBX system or a VoIP system that utilizes IP Telephony. However, systems that utilize IP Telephony do have certain advantages when compared to a strict PBX system.

For example, an IP phone system can handle complex routing features, like cell phone alerts when important calls are received, or even voicemail rerouting. Plus, a VoIP system using IP Telephony will be much easier to setup and utilize. You’ll be able to use video chat, conferencing, and video phone features without a complex system. Finally, you’ll gain access to features like voicemail transcription, CRM software integration, and much more.

In Closing

As you can see, telephony is actually quite far reaching. What began as simple phone to phone communication has evolved into real-time video conferencing, and more. We can expect the definition and uses of telephony to expand into new areas in the future.

If you’re running a business that requires both internal and external phone communication, then you’ll probably rely on telephony to help you do just that. We hope the post above has been helpful in understanding what telephony actually is, and the various forms it takes today.

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