What is VoIP and how does it work?

If you’re considering getting a VoIP system, then you’ve probably tried to do some research to try and find out what VoIP exactly is. And although there’s an abundance of information out there, it can be pretty difficult to understand it in full.

And even if you do understand what VoIP is, do you really know whether it’s worth it for your business? What are the advantages and disadvantages of VoIP? These are just some of the questions that I’ll be answering. So if you’re still not sure what VoIP is and whether it’s right for you, then hold tight whilst I run through it with you quickly.

What is VoIP?

To put it extremely simply, VoIP basically gives you the ability to make a phone call over the internet as opposed to using phone lines. So you don’t need to worry about your local phone company and your landline connection, as VoIP uses your internet connection (WiFi) to make a call.

How does VoIP work?

VoIP, which stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol, actually works by converting analog signals into digital signals. A telephone, fax machine, a modem; these are all examples of things that work with analog signals. Your voice is translated into electromagnetic signals, which is then transmitted to the other end of the phone line. With a digital signal, this data is transmitted via the internet instead.

This works very well, and the best example of VoIP is probably with Skype. Skype gives you the ability to make calls to landlines as well as calling other people via a digital connection. However, Skype calls to landlines are actually charged per minute and when you add it up, it can be quite expensive. This is why VoIP is increasingly popular for small businesses, as it can help cut down costs.

How can I make a VoIP call?

Deciding on which method to make a VoIP call will depend mainly on the volume of calls that you’re going to be making. If you’re just one person, and you’re only only going to be making VoIP calls occasionally, then you might be able to get away with just using an app on your phone to do this, especially if this doesn’t have to appear professional. Apps like Skype and Viber give you the ability to do this, but costs can add up over time.

If you’re just one person but you’re going to be making VoIP calls quite regularly, then you may want to consider getting a landline phone that has the ability to make VoIP calls. However, if you’re more than 1 person and you’re going to be making calls regularly, then you will probably want to get yourself set up with a good VoIP provider to make sure that you keep your phone call costs down to a minimum.

Pros and Cons of Using VoIP

If you’re thinking about getting a VoIP system set up, then it’s important to know if it’s worth it for you. There are many advantages to using a VoIP system for your business, but there are also some drawbacks too.

Pros

  • The main reason that people want to install a VoIP system is that it can enable you to make call at a cheaper rate than via landline.
  • As well as it being cheaper in your own country, it’s significantly cheaper if you’re going to be making calls abroad.
  • VoIP gives you the ability to make calls from anywhere, meaning you’re not tied to a landline.
  • VoIP gets rid of the necessity for more hardware, as you can make calls from your laptop or computer.
  • It’s much easier to transfer calls with a VoIP system in place, and there are other features like Auto Attendant, too.

Cons

  • The main drawback of using a VoIP system is that you’re entirely reliant on the quality of your internet connection. If your internet sucks, then you might want to change providers before switching to a VoIP system.
  • Another one of the main reasons why we can’t just use digital calls for everything is that VoIP struggles to track down the location where a call comes from. It works via IP address, which is difficult to pinpoint an exact location. For things like emergency services, this means that they can’t tell where a call is coming from, which is obviously a problem.

For years, phone services have been able to charge whatever they want for you to make a phone call. Older people reading can understand how expensive it might have been to make a call abroad via your landline when you didn’t have the possibility of using Skype or WhatsApp to call your family or friends in another country. Fortunately, with the ability to send digital signals, we’re able to reduce the costs for people making regular phone calls.

Conclusion

It’s quite clear to see what the advantages of VoIP are and why so many people decide to use them for their business. VoIP can give you the ability to grow your company without having to worry about how you’re going to make calls, as typically with a VoIP provider it’s very easy to add new users (many of them work on a monthly fee per individual).

However, VoIP won’t be necessary for everyone and you’ll definitely want to think about things before committing. However if you really want to grow your business and you rely on communication, then a good VoIP system might be worth your investment.

About Nathan

Hello! I'm Nate. I work for an internet company during the week, so you'll probably see me on here jabbering about the internet and building websites, which is my main side hobby.

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