The term VoIP is widely used in any communication and technical discussions these days. Some identify it as fancy and expensive telephones, and some understand it as very cheap international calls over the internet.
So I’ll try to very simply give a quick explanation on what VoIP is, and what the benefits are.
VoIP stands for “Voice over Internet Protocol” – so in the most general definition, it is the term used for the technology used to transfer voice over IP (i.e. computer network including the internet).
Practical VoIP Services
In practice, VoIP covers a broad range of different telephony technologies / services. The main ones are:
- Free phone calls over the internet: these include the services where you use your computer / internet enabled mobile phone to do a voice call with someone else over the internet using the same services. Probably the most popular example is Skype. Such communications are free as you would only pay for the internet services in general. Apart from Skype, there are now many other similar services available that you can select.
- Professional VoIP telephone sets and PBXs: old analog office telephones and intercoms are now almost totally replaced with VoIP-based equivalents. Some of the most famous names are Cisco and Avaya which are on the higher-end. However there are also many lower cost solutions and free VoIP PBX software such as Asterisk that can be used to set up very advanced business solutions for offices.
- VoIP for International Calls: Another service that is used as a standalone service or in conjunction with above solutions is using VoIP for making international calls. Unlike traditional POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) services that are very expensive for making international calls, using these services can save up to 90% on costs for international calls. The reason is that while in POTS a dedicate connection is made from your location right up to destination, in VoIP, your connection up to the distant location is provided over the internet at no extra costs up to the destination city, and you would only pay for the call as if it has been a local call.
6 Main Benefits of VoIP
The 6 main benefits are:
- Major costs saving in both implementation and in call rates.
- Easy integration with other business systems and communication systems.
- Lots of highly useful features such as CallerID, follow-me, find me, auto-attendant, call lists, multiple numbers, voice mails, etc.
- High portability and can seamlessly interconnect remote sites.
- Higher voice quality, immune from interferences.
- Lower maintenance costs
VoIP is very rapidly replacing old analog solutions. We can now confidently say that it is for sure the sole future of telephony solutions.