What is Voice-Over IP?
Voice-Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) is technology that enables voice calls to be made over the Internet.
A relatively recent invention, it has since become much more than just a novel means of communicating by phone for less. VOIP transmits voice data using Internet Protocol (IP), namely the most common set of rules that standardize how data is transferred over the Internet. This means that VOIP can interact with any devices and systems also operating through IP.
How Does VOIP Work?
VOIP entails breaking down voice calls into digital pieces small enough to transmit between IP addresses. These pieces are called data packets, each comprising the data load along with vital details such as information about the source and destination. Traveling in the same way that emails are exchanged between inboxes, these converted voice signals are given routing information upon leaving the sender and subsequently transmitted to the receiver; once there, the signals are individually decompressed to reconstruct the voice as closely as possible.
What are the pros and cons of VOIP?
The main advantages of VOIP technology lie in cost savings and increased efficiency. VOIP effectively streamlines communications by combining voice and digital data onto one network, reducing both equipment and calling expenses. Rather than receiving a separate phone bill that charges by the minute, VOIP users simply pay for their monthly Internet use. VOIP services can also eliminate travel costs with features such as video conferencing, as users are able to make real-time visual contact even if continents apart.
The disadvantages to VOIP have diminished considerably with advances in technology. Early on, its primary obstacles were low bandwidth and primitive computers. But now with the proper provider the speed and efficiency often surpasses that of an analog line.
Primarily what type of companies and businesses would take the most advantage of VOIP?
As a powerful tool for streamlining communications, VOIP proves particularly useful for companies with larger or more widespread workforces. Whether based in international branch locations, traveling on assignment, or simply working from home, employees belonging to a VOIP network always have a quick means of staying connected. Call centre-oriented companies can also significantly reduce costs by coordinating a virtual network of agents rather than staffing a full-time, fixed customer service centre. VOIP can also provide a cost-effective communications solution for smaller businesses.