What is VoIP?
Have questions about VoIP service? What is it, and what is a VoIP number? How does VoIP work, and what can VoIP be used for? We have answers!
VoIP is an abbreviation for Voice over Internet Protocol, a form of phone service that operates over your internet network rather than through a traditional telephone network. VoIP has been gaining in popularity for more than a decade as more and more companies implement it into their communications.
Just as the internet has become the standard for the transmission of written or printed data, with email rapidly taking over services such as fax for many companies, it is now becoming the standard for handling voice traffic — even taking it several steps beyond. VoIP offers expanded capabilities compared to older technology, and at a lower cost.
How Does VoIP Work?
You now understand just what is VoIP, but how does VoIP work, and what is a VoIP number? VoIP is powered by the internet, which means that rather than using business phones connected to landlines to place and receive calls, everything operates through your internet connection — just plug in a headset or handset in to your computer to get on the internet (or access it wirelessly), log on to the service, and you’re good to go.
When an outgoing call is placed, it is carried over the internet to reach the recipient. If an incoming call is placed, it’s routed back to the employee’s computer. For calls made within a company that operates on a VoIP system, or calls placed between two separate companies using VoIP systems, the call never even reaches a landline — it just goes over the internet from computer to computer and from device to device.
What is a VoIP number? It’s a virtual telephone number that isn’t based in a specific location or tied to a physical landline, so calls to it can reach you wherever you are. A VoIP number can also give recipients of outgoing calls the impression that you’re calling from a certain location, which can be useful to businesses that want to appear local but aren’t.
Benefits of Using VoIP Phone Systems
What is a VoIP phone system good for? So many things! VoIP phone systems offer many benefits for their users.
- Lower cost. They are much less expensive for what they can deliver than traditional phone systems. Part of this is just because of the hardware involved. Business phones are expensive, and they require setup and installation in addition to maintenance and monthly phone bills for multiple lines. Meanwhile, VoIP phone systems just need a computer, an internet connection, a sound card and a headset to operate. Many businesses already have computers and an internet connection; in fact, most businesses operate with an internet network that is already sufficient to power a VoIP system, so there aren’t any new costs if such a system is adopted. Long-distance and international calls also don’t cost anything extra compared to regular calls with most VoIP service providers.
- Scalable. More telephone numbers and users can be added at any time to accommodate changes to an organization’s size; all can operate on the same internet network.
- More features. While additional features offered through a traditional phone company can get expensive — think call forwarding, automatic redialing, caller ID — VoIP technology can handle them with ease. VoIP technology can also do many things that traditional phone lines cannot. What is a VoIP phone system capable of running? They can integrate with applications to allow features or even offer them on their own, such as text messaging, screen sharing, video conferencing, and voicemail to email.
- Mobility. VoIP systems allow for flexibility in their users’ locations, meaning users can place and take phone calls from varied locations so long as they have a reliable internet connection. Anywhere you have the internet, you can receive a call on a VoIP system. This also allows for a company’s call center agents to work remotely, which can give companies an advantage when trying to fill positions as that kind of flexibility is a perk for many people. Having fewer employees working on the premises can also save a lot of money on costs for leasing and maintaining office space.
- Reliability. Using an external VoIP service generally means you’re less at risk of downtime from something like your on-site server going down. That’s because VoIP services have redundancies and backups built in to help keep them — and your calls — online when something goes wrong. Data can also be stored in the cloud, giving it a level of protection and accessibility that comes with being one step removed and available around the clock.
What are the Requirements to Run a VoIP Phone System?
- Good internet connection — What is a VoIP phone system without the IP? Without sufficient available bandwidth to operate, a VoIP system may not perform well or at all, resulting in poor sound quality, disconnected calls, and disgruntled customers or colleagues.
- A headset, phone, or microphone and speakers — A variety of different accessories can be used to communicate over your VoIP phone service. What is the VoIP phone accessory of choice? Frequently, VoIP providers will include wireless accessories that work well with their service, but there’s a lot of flexibility if you have another solution or pre-existing technology you’d prefer to use. An advantage to using a mobile phone is that many VoIP phone systems come with an app for managing individual calls and the system as a whole. How does VoIP work with your current tech? You’ll have to contact a VoIP service provider to find out whether and how it can make use of what you already have in place.