The telecommunications age began in the 1830’s with the first telegraph equipment. It’s contemporary developments in Germany, Great Britain, and the United States, changed the world forever.
The first attempts at communicating “long distance” using electricity covered less than a mile. They were, however, responsible for the development of binary code, electrical rotary switching technology and many other techniques and technologies that form the basis of today’s communication revolution. From these beginnings through to the invention of the telephone and human-operated dialing and switching systems we have evolved to digitalized communication techniques and protocols for connecting to virtually anyone, any place, at any time. One of the technologies spawned from the simple wires and taps connection more than 150 years ago is VoIP telephony.
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. It represents a technology with global reach. VoIP works by digitizing sound. Ordinary POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service, no kidding, that’s what it is called) was invented in the mid-1800’s, with the first patent issued in 1876. POTS used analog interfaces to push or vibrate sound along a copper wire from one destination to another. VoIP expands this capability by encoding the values of the vibrations into binary code, dividing the message into small packets and reassembling them at the receiver’s end of the conversation.
While POTS has served us well for more than 100 years, VoIP is an improvement in many ways:
• The clarity of the digital signal is vastly superior to the analog version.
• The digitized signals can be transmitted cheaper and quicker than the analog signals.
• The digital signals can be moved out of the phone realm and into emails automatically creating a Unified Communication Platform.
• VoIP signals can transmit video and audio connections on a greater variety of devices. This means that you can have virtual machines known as “softphones” accessible from any computer, smartphone, or tablet.
• VoIP systems reduce the need for duplicate wiring that analog phones require by using your existing internet connectivity and cabling.
• VoIP phone systems make internal calling free even between geographically distinct sites by using SIP technology.
VoIP systems are available both as an on premise or as a hosted solution. In an on premise installation, you will need to set up a VoIP PBX, VoIP router and voicemail server. With a hosted solution you will still need a router to translate the VoIP traffic so that it goes to the right party with the proper quality of service assured.
While we’ve talked about some of the technical advantages and features of a VoIP system, let’s look at some of the benefits to the user community. VoIP systems being computer-based provide a much more comprehensive array of user experiences than a POTS PBX system can. With VoIP systems, you can set up users and features using a graphical user interface that allows drag and drop movement of phones and features. Your phone system can be accessed remotely and changes made from outside your office at full internet speeds rather than at the dial-up modem speeds of a POTS system.
VoIP systems allow, as mentioned before, Softphones. Softphones will enable a user to answer their desk phone from anywhere in the world provided they can connect to your installation through the internet. This function allows your team to work remotely at another internal office, at a different desk in the same room, from their home office, or from a customer site. When they are fully mobile, they can answer their desk phone on their cell phone as well. In some configurations, you can even use them for hot swapped offices by providing users a login code that will assign a specific desk phone to them for a given period or until they log out of the system.
The majority of VoIP systems create a receptionist console that can monitor all other lines to see if they are in use, manage out of office messages, allow hunt groups and a myriad of other features. All while reducing the total cost of ownership, improving call quality, providing video conferencing in certain circumstances and eliminating the expense of the site to site calls.
If you are interested in learning more about VoIP telephony and the benefits and applications for your business, please contact Systems Net today for an educational consultation or feel free to browse our website. As a premiere provider of VoIP and other IT services, we look forward to working to exceed your expectations.