VOIP. The meaning and function.

What is VOIP?

VOIP, voice over internet protocol, is a digital phone system using a fibre internet connection to make and receive phone calls subsequently turning traditional landline phones into dinosaurs. 

With a fibre internet connection, making phone calls without legacy telecommunication services like Telkom is super easy with the right VOIP service provider. 

How VOIP works

1. Communication devices and load shedding

Firstly, the telecoms technology turns any mobile device into a phone, including laptops and ipads and using a VOIP phone number via an app. Additionally, voice over internet protocol converts calls into data sent over the internet so if a user has a quality router generating a strong enough WiFi signal, they are good to go.

Traditional phones use analogue VOIP uses fibre
Traditional phones use analogue VOIP uses fibre

Traditional telephones use analogue to carry a caller’s voice from their phone to the receiver’s landline over telephone lines. Comparatively VOIP phones send and receive calls over the internet not restricted to any location and saving tons of money on long-distance calls. Also, during load shedding, calls can be routed to another number or device and, if necessary, to voicemail ensuring nothing gets missed.

2. The transfer of words

Nowadays, VOIP gets built on open standards like Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) synergising alternate telephones, conference phones, and VOIP apps. Voices get converted into digital files and sent as data packets that travel worldwide in less than a second bypassing legacy telephone businesses.

3. A simple breakdown of a phone call 

  • A phone connects to a local area network (LAN).
  • After dialling a number, the internet protocol phone instructs the service provider to call.
  • Once a call gets established, the service exchanges data packets from the IP phone.
  • The phone then converts the packets or data into the sound of a voice.

Pretty cool stuff!

Types of VOIP phones

1. Hardware

A hardware-based phone resembles a traditional telephone but without copper wiring. This phone connects to a fibre internet modem.

2. Softphone

A softphone is a software package installed on a computer.

Benefits of using VOIP

1. Cost-effective 

Businesses and end users can save up to 60% on phone bills.

2. High-quality sound 

Audio is crisp and clear compared to when VOIP first hit the market. In some cases, the quality can be twice as good compared to traditional telephone systems due to fibre internet speed.

3. Advanced VOIP features 

Companies can take advantage of attributes like artificial attendants that transfer calls to the correct extension or voicemail if after hours. Furthermore, the service can record calls and manage a queuing system if overburdened. 

4. International calls

Overseas calls are a fraction of the cost compared to legacy systems.

5. Working remotely 

VOIP improves team efficiency

Use the service if working from home.

Besides the already mentioned benefits of VOIP, there are specific advantages when managing a large (or small) team.

VOIP keeps teams efficient
Man VOIP keeps us efficient

1. Unified Communications

VOIP improves workflow through unified communications (UC). Instead of using several various apps to pull communication efforts together, a VOIP system promotes cohesiveness. A unified communications platform allows for instant messaging, team chats, video conferencing, screen sharing and the use of apps all from one place.

2. Call encryption 

Voice over internet protocol systems secures voice files transferred over the internet. The phone system has security features preventing hackers from intercepting calls. 

Technology like TLS (Transport Layer Security) and SRTP (Secure Real-time Transport Protocol) scrambles voice data making eavesdropping ineffective.

Call recording and quality control

VOIP allows customers and staff to record phone calls for quality and training purposes. Recordings are secure, and only authorised personnel can access the information. Call recording is part of the system and does not require expensive PABX systems.

In summary

VOIP has many benefits that far outweigh legacy telecommunications infrastructure. These benefits include cost-effectiveness and unified communications between team members at a business. VOIP is under-utilised, and companies should fully utilise the technology to improve workflows and productivity, including remote working.