VoIP Business Phone

What is a VoIP phone?

A Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone uses Internet Protocol (IP) technology to transmit calls with the aid of either specialised digital hardware or a program that runs on a computer or mobile device. A VoIP telephone converts sound into packets of data and sends it through the Internet to a network. On the receiving end, the phone decompresses the data and plays it back for the recipient to hear.

VoIP vs traditional phone systems

A traditional business phone system is connected by wire to an on-premise private branch exchange (PBX). A PBX manages all routing and ensures all calls reach their destination through the public switched telephone network (PSTN) or plain old telephone service (POTS), a colloquial term for PSTN.

 

What is a VoIP phone and how does it work?

Voice over IP technology comprises several protocols working together to replicate telephony functions. Each protocol has a different function, but all are working simultaneously in real-time. Here is a brief description of the protocol:

  •   Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)

SIP protocol is the signalling component of the technology and sets up real-time multimedia sessions between two or more participants over the Internet.

  •   Real-time Transport Protocol or RTP

RTP is the technology that carries the digital voice audio data packet back and forth during VoIP phone calls.

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  1. Transport protocols for VoIPUsing the simile of sending a letter – you need an envelope to make sure a message is delivered to its destination untouched and without delay, Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP) are the envelopes or two primary types of transport protocols used for data transmission across the Internet.
    •   Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) for accuracy

    TCP ensures integrity and error-checking capabilities, designed to cope with network failures and can adapt to available resources in the network. TCP is so prevalent across the Internet that it’s usually combined with Internet Protocol (IP) and written as TCP/IP (TCP over IP).

    •   User Datagram Protocol (UDP) for speed

    UDP is connectionless so the data packets can be sent without any ‘negotiation’ or a ‘send and forget’ protocol and thus speed is increased.  It provides just enough control information to understand what app is running and to check whether the packets got distorted in transit.

    VoIP ports

    A port is the communication endpoint used by the transport protocol to facilitate the stream of information. All data has a destination port associated with it, and this port is associated with a number to enable the server to sort traffic and deliver the data to the correct recipient.

    In VoIP traffic, the standard port is 5060 along a rage of 0 to 65535. It is the gateway for VoIP functions such as media streaming and video conferencing. VoIP providers use a variety of ports based on their specific product designs and requirements. 

    Can you use a VoIP Phone as a regular phone?

    Most people are still using traditional carriers for both landlines and cell phones although VoIP has gained popularity among regular consumers. VoIP for businesses can replace traditional telephone carriers, but if VoIP-based solutions can only connect with other VoIP-based telephones, then it is not ideal for organisations. Fortuitously, VoIP gateways allow VoIP phones to connect to regular landlines.

    VoIP gateways allow digital data to be converted to analogue or multiplexed voice data that can be consumed through regular landlines and cell phones. VoIP gateways also convert analogue multiplexed voice data into a digital format so that it can be broken into IP packets.

    Types of VoIP phones

    You have a choice of several different kinds of VoIP phones, each has a specific purpose. These include:

    •   Hard phones

    Desk IP phones are the standard business VoIP phones and comes with a graphical LCD screen that shows different features like caller ID and call transfer, programmable buttons with speed dialling options, and dedicated speakers and microphones.

    Portable handsets or wireless phones have built-in Wi-Fi and combine the functionality of a regular desk phone while allowing you to move freely even while on a call.

    Conference phones enable multiple callers with electronically balanced lines enhancing call quality.

    •   Softphones

    Softphones or virtual phones consist of software apps installed onto a computer or mobile device and then used like a hard phone.

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