What is VoIP and how does it work

Introduction

The way we make phone calls is changing. In fact, things have already changed in many circumstances. Take long distance calls, for example, many service providers already use a technology called Voice Over IP or abbreviated VOIP. If you’ve never heard of VOIP before, the following article will change your mindset about how long distance calls are made now, and how all phone calls will be made in the future. Voice Over IP (VOIP) is a method for converting analog audio signals to digital data that can be transmitted over the Internet.

You may be asking yourself how useful this is. Think about it for a few seconds. If it is possible to convert analog signals to digital data, VOIP can turn a standard Internet connection into a method of making telephone calls anywhere in the world virtually free of charge, in addition to your Internet service charge, allowing you to bypass telephone companies completely.

Voice Over IP (VOIP) has the potential to completely revolutionize the way the world’s telephone system works. There are many VOIP service providers that have been around for a while and are growing steadily. Now the world’s leading telecommunications operators have awakened to the endless possibilities with this new technology, they are setting up VOIP call centers around the world and promoting the sale of Voice Over IP telephone systems.

Make a call

With VOIP telephone systems, it is possible to make a call in one of three ways:

ATA (gateway) – The easiest way to make a VOIP call is by using ATA’s (analogue telephone adapters) which are sometimes called gateways. These devices allow you to use your existing standard analog phones. You simply connect your regular handset to the ATA (gateway) and then connect the ATA to your computer or your internet connection, so that you can make VOIP calls. An ATA takes the analog signal from your regular telephone and converts it into a digital signal that is ready for transmission over the Internet. Some ATA (gateways) come with additional software that loads on a host computer, allowing you to configure it for VOIP exactly.

IP phones – These phones look just like regular standard headphones. They have an RJ 45 Ethernet connector instead of standard RJ 11 connectors. These phones have all the necessary software and hardware to handle VOIP calls already built into them. They connect directly to your router, providing a very fast and cost-effective entry into the Voice Over IP world.

Computer to computer – This is the easiest way to use VOIP technology. There are many companies that offer cost effective software that you can use for this type of VOIP. Usually, the only fee you pay is the monthly fee from your ISP, even for long distance calls. All you need is a microphone, speakers, a suitable sound card and a fast internet connection.

Chances are, you’ve already made a VOIP call without even realizing it. The major telephone companies already use VOIP to route thousands of long distance calls through a circuit breaker and into an IP gateway. This is then received by a gateway at the other end and then routed to another local circuit breaker. More and more companies are installing VOIP telephone systems, and the technology will grow and grow until it finds its way into all companies and households around the world.

VoIP features

Because with VOIP you can call wherever you have access to a broadband connection, users can take their IP phones or ATAs with them on trips and still have access to what is essentially their home phone.

Some people use a computer phone to access their VOIP service. A softphone is a specially developed program that loads the VOIP service on your desktop or laptop. Some even have an on-screen interface that looks like a traditional phone. These softphone applications allow you to make VOIP calls from your laptop; anywhere in the world you have access to a broadband connection.

Most traditional phone companies charge extra for features added to your account. With VOIP service providers, these usually come as standard. Features such as:

1. Caller ID

2. Call waiting

3. Call transfer

4. Repeat dialing

5. Call back

6. Three-way dialing

Some VOIP service providers also offer advanced call filtering features. These additional features allow you to decide how calls to a specific number are handled using caller ID information. They let you:

1. Divert the call to a specific number

2. Send the call directly to your voicemail

3. Give the caller a busy signal

4. Play the message “not on duty”.

Many VOIP services also allow you to check your voicemail over the Internet or attach messages to an e-mail sent to your computer or PDA. It is best to check with VOIP telephone system providers and service operators exactly what features they offer as package and service prices vary widely.

There are many other cost-saving benefits that come from a streamlined VOIP telephone network. For network administrators, a VOIP phone system means they only have one network to maintain instead of two. The portability of the telephone system is also considerably simplified. This is because most VOIP phone systems can be configured with a web interface, which can be managed by the network administrator. The MAC process (move, add, change) is made much easier, and you do not have to call your system / service provider for every MAC you perform. All of this means lower running costs for your business.

Another cost saving for companies implementing a VOIP system is that because multiple offices, no matter where they are in the world, are seamlessly interconnected, they can share many of the features that VOIP can offer, such as:

A single receptionist

2. Auto attendant facilities

3. Voicemail system

Choosing a VOIP telephone system

If you have decided that a VOIP telephone system is the right step for your business, then you need to decide which of your existing telephone equipment you can keep. The potential cost savings that can be made by using all existing digital equipment are enormous. Many digital telephone systems can be IP-enabled with the help of minor hardware add-ons and software upgrades.

When looking for potential systems, you need to be sure of the features they provide by default and which are optional costs. You also need to be sure of exactly what is included in the system. Many suppliers claim to have everything you need, but standard components can vary from one company to another. So you need to be sure that you are comparing similar systems when contacting potential suppliers.

You must also ask about the compatibility of existing equipment. The technology used in many VOIP systems can affect the implementation of existing telephone hardware.

You also need to make sure that all devices like faxes, credit card processors and security systems etc can be integrated into your new VOIP phone system. You should make all potential providers aware of such devices so that they can provide you with a suitable telephone system for your needs.

Finally, do not try to save money by buying used VOIP phone systems. Remember that VOIP is a new technology, so last year’s equipment is also obsolete. Even the installation cost will still apply regardless of whether the system is new or used, and the service costs may even be higher due to reliability issues. Simply put, it is simply not worth it, the higher secondary costs will obliterate any savings.

Thanks for reading,

Jason

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