Learn the Basics of VoIP in 5 Minutes (or less)

What is VoIP?

In basic terms, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) allows the transmission of voice, data, and multimedia sessions over the Internet. You need an active Internet connection with an Internet Protocol (IP) address. Essentially, it enables you to transmit your voice over the Internet.

What is a VoIP phone?

As an alternative to traditional public switched telephone network (PSTN), a VoIP phone, also referred to as an IP phone or Softphone, uses an IP network to make and receive phone calls. IP phones rely on hardware acceleration for processing phone calls.

An example of VoIP is WhatsApp, an app which facilitates making and receiving calls from other WhatsApp users. Businesses can download and install a Softphone App on office PCs and smartphones which will allow making and receiving calls from and to any telephone number in the world.

How does VoIP work?

VoIP converts voice into digital signals, allowing making calls directly from a computer, VoIP phone, or a network device. Switching or upgrading to VoIP is greatly beneficial because it results in a considerable decrease in costs for calls and infrastructure. No additional line installations are needed and you will enjoy the benefit of advanced features such as voicemail-to-email, CRM integration, and syncing with Google Contacts.

Is VoIP the same as a Landline?

The key difference between VoIP and landline phones is how each service is delivered. VoIP software uses a cloud-based solution where landlines use an analogue system transmitted through a local or regional telephone company’s copper wires. A traditionally wired phone is connected to the PSTN which uses a series of copper and fibre-optic cables to transfer analogue and digital signals.

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How does VoIP compare to a Landline?

VoIP technology allows working remotely and transferring calls between offices in different time-zones. Users can access new features and benefits not available on a landline, including:

  • Integration with business apps such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and systems for sales and support teams. CRM is a nifty app and approach to manage business interactions with current and potential customers. Businesses can analyse data on customers’ history to expand business relationships with a focus on customer retention and in due course drive sales growth;
  • Improved scalability because VoIP services permits working remotely provided there is an active connection to the Internet;
  • Improved reliability and failover or switching to a standby computer server, system, hardware component or network during downtime. With a traditional landline phone services are suspended if there is a maintenance issue in the telephone infrastructure. This is not the case with VoIP since there is always a second or third connection available and calls can be routed to mobile phones.

What Equipment does VoIP require?

The only equipment needed for VoIP is a modem to connect to the Internet and either an IP phone or a device to run a Softphone. For high-quality VoIP services, it is advisable to have a router for managing the Quality of Service (QoS).

How reliable is VoIP?

Since most business owners consume an average of 87 Kbps per concurrent incoming and outgoing calls, VoIP is an ideal way to manage bandwidth. Bandwidth management determines how reliable your VoIP phone is. Bandwidth Management, also referred to as QoS, creates priorities on the network traffic for different applications that are consuming bandwidth. 

Reliability can be improved by properly configuring the QoS and using a cable connection between your PC and your computer networking device such as an ethernet hub, network switch or modem. When configuring the QoS, set the voice traffic as the top priority to prevent congestion and maintain a constant connection.

How to increase Call Quality on VoIP?

A QoS on your network will increase your call quality on VoIP. By prioritising voice traffic over browsing, updates, streaming services, you ensure connectivity and smooth voice transmission. The most effective method of managing the priorities on the QoS is changing the settings on your router.

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