VoIP

VoIP is an acronym for Voice Over Internet Protocol, or in more common words – phone services over internet. This is accomplished by sending voice data in packets across IP, instead of via traditional transmission over the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). Some of the popular service providers today include Skype and Vonage that emerged with disruptive technologies.

The terms “IP telephony” and “VoIP” are often used interchangeably, and it may be confusing to differentiate the two. However, IP telephony works by taking traditional voice signals and converting them to a form that can be easily transmitted over a local area network. Businesses today often use IP phone systems, or IP PBX – that leverage the Internet Protocol to replace traditional phone systems in the office. However, this doesn’t mean that the phone system is linked to the public internet. IP telephony uses technology within the private data network in a single location or across a private network to reach remote locations. VoIP instead refers to using the public internet to carry voice traffic. This also results in lower quality of the service than you would experience by using your own network. However, if properly engineered voice quality over public internet can be just as good as traditional phone lines.

  • VoIP is an acronym for Voice Over Internet Protocol
  • VoIP means phone services over internet
  • Can’t be used to call services such as 911 or phone directory listings
  • A cost-efficient solution to make calls
  • The first VoIP was called Vocaltec which initially launched in 1995
  • Skype is a famous VoIP provider

History

Before today’s popular VoIP functions, POTS was the go-to for communication, which refers to the phone systems that run through PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network).  The first VoIP transmission began in 1973 as a result of the experimental Network Voice Protocol invented for the ARPANET. Although it wasn’t until 1995 that the first internet phone service appeared, called Vocaltec. The service brought the first internet phone to the market which was a software that compressed the voice signal and translated it into digital packages to be distributed over internet. However, the call only worked as long as both the caller and receiver had the same hardware and software. One of the drawbacks was that the sound quality was poor, and the equipment can’t even be compared today’s IP telephony standard.

The first adopters recognized the huge potential in voice transmission in data packets instead of the traditional telephony. The software was initially designed to run on home computers and used a H.323 protocol instead of the more popular SIP protocols that are used today. Vocaltec did however allow PC users to avoid long distance telephone charges and achieved its initial success during the IPO launch in 1996. This was truly the first real VoIP software application that set the standard for what VoIP came to be today.

New hardware devices and solutions came with the successful launch, and soon it was enabled between computer and phones and phone to phone. Cisco, 3 Com and Lucent also came to introduce new network hardware that could route and switch the VoIP traffic. This was a huge breakthrough and soon VoIP traffic accounted for more than 3% of all voice traffic in the United States. The gradual introduction of broadband Ethernet also resulted in greater call quality and reduced latency. The technology became popular in the mass market in 2004 with the introduction of VoIP calling plans which permitted subscribers to make calls just as with conventional telephony services.

The benefits

One of the main benefits of VoIP is lower costs, which virtually any business can appreciate. You can only install so many phone lines in a company which adds costs, especially if you want to make long-distance calls. With the communication being modified into data packets sent over internet, the issue of a single phone line is immediately eliminated. Traditional phone lines typically charge for each minute of a call, whereas VoIP only consists of a monthly charge from your ISP. In fact, many providers offer inexpensive or even free calling.

In addition, lower costs are also associated with the hardware and software to operate the system. High-quality providers ensure that their clients always have up to date systems and provide all the current hardware. This eliminates the need for businesses to purchase their own phones and infrastructure, which further results in savings.

Another great and exciting benefit of VoIP is the simplification of conference calls. Tradition phone lines allow conferences, but for a much higher price when adding up services coupled with hosting multiple callers. VoIP allows workers to join in phone calls or conferences wherever they may be with the portable technology that only requires a phone and internet.

The future of VoIP

The shift of completely switching to cloud-based services is already up and running. But the future is expected to result in a complete shift from on premise PBX systems to the cloud in the upcoming years. The digital transformation of the business phone will also facilitate better scalability, HD quality and a unified communication system across the entire organization that isn’t restricted by a single location.

Company telephony was previously something that big corporations used, but today’s VoIP services don’t require huge investments. The prices are also expected to fall even more in the upcoming years, which will help small business who are looking for a. communication solutions to improve their communication and customer service.

Summary

VoIP means phone services over internet and this is accomplished by sending voice data in packets across IP, instead of via traditional transmission over the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). The first VoIP transmission began in 1973 as a result of the experimental Network Voice Protocol invented for the ARPANET. Although it wasn’t until 1995 that the first internet phone service appeared, called Vocaltec. The highly cost-efficient cloud-based services is expected to result in a complete shift from on premise PBX systems to the cloud in the upcoming years for companies.

Glossary