Ask the VoIP Guys
In the first in a series of info articles, the VoIP guys tackle the complex issue of What Voice over Internet Protocol actually is and what it means.
What is VoIP?
VoIP stands for Voice over IP, although it is often referred to by other names such as Voice over Networks (VoN) or IP Telephony.
Sounds good – but what does it all mean?
Quite simply, VoIP means that you can make phone calls over your internal network or the internet at more cost effective rates than traditional landlines (often calls over your internal networks are even free). One of the best things about VoIP is that as with all modern technologies, it offers significantly more features and options compared to traditional telephony. A good comparison could be, for example the differences between Video and DVDs. With video you could play, pause, stop, fast-forward, rewind and record. With DVDs you can do all that and much more like scene selection, subtitles, language selection, ultra slow motion, aspect ratios etc etc.
Great – but what’s in it for me and my Business?
As technology has advanced, so have the various VoIP services which can be used today, adding many new features that were simply unimaginable with old school phones and traditional exchanges. Most of these advancements, such as mobile integration, number portability and establishing interactive voice response menus are of benefit only to business VoIP users, but some are also very useful for everyday life, such as mobile VoIP which gives users the ability to call friends, family or colleagues overseas for significantly less than an international land line call all the while using their mobile phone. The reverse is also true when you are overseas, providing of course you have an internet connection that is NOT your mobile network – that costs a fortune!
But how does it work you ask?
Some find this quite confusing, but simply put, VoIP applications convert your voice into digital signals which can be sent over the internet just like any other data packet. To simplify things, imagine that you are searching for something on Google, you type in your search words – but how does Google know what you typed? The answer: your computer converted the words you typed into digital signals which Google can recognise and use to find what you are looking for and that is exactly what VoIP systems do – only without the searching for what you are looking for part.
Sounds complicated doesn’t it?
Well yes – but not too worry, just as you do not need to know how your Android or iPhone device actually works, you do not need to know how VoIP works – only that it does and that it has many advantages that can be of great benefit to any VoIP user. Of course, the benefits are greater for businesses, but that does not mean that individuals cannot get in on the act as well.