Technology is taking over communication, with most businesses looking for the most effective way to do so. One of the communication systems that has become popular with organizations and individuals over time is VoIP. 

So what is VoIP? Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a phone system that allows users to make and receive calls over the internet. 

How does VoIP work

Besides knowing what VoIP is, it is crucial to understand how it works. Simply put, VoIP is a system that converts analog signals into digital ones and sends them over a broadband line. The technology involves putting the digital signals into packets that resemble electronic envelopes. Packet-switched VoIP is versatile, and its signals are transmitted over compatible networks. Some of the common signals that can be sent using VoIP include video, data, and voice. 

Transmission of information using VoIP can be done to different devices such as IP phones, smartphones, tablets, and laptops. When using a computer, users have several programs to choose from, with some charging a fee to place a call. Smartphones can also make voice calls after the installation of specific applications. In some cases, landlines can also make VoIP calls using special adapters plugged into a router or phone socket. 

Some of the best VoIP service providers can offer a custom business solution, based on your needs.

How is VoIP different from regular telephone line

The difference between VoIP and technologies standard telephone lines is always part of any discussion on what is VoIP. Traditional telephony requires the use of networks, cables, and phone lines for calls to be made. It’s the same for calls made through mobile phones, requiring specific equipment for communication to occur. 

In comparison, VoIP digitally transmits information such as data, video, and voice through a versatile network on the internet. The main difference is that the system doesn’t need physical hardware installed to transmit information from one user to another. Instead, VoIP uses packets that allow communication to take place using devices such as laptops, IP phones, smartphones, and tablets. 

 What is a VoIP caller?

As VoIP continues to become the norm in the business world, many companies seek to understand its intricacies. When using an internet-service-based provider to make calls over the internet, the recipient will see the words “VoIP caller” on their handset. The words on the screen indicate the call is being made over VoIP instead of a regular phone line. 

VoIP callers are beneficial and also save costs for businesses and individuals by eliminating installation costs. Calling isn’t restricted to other VoIP callers on computers but extends to cell phones and landlines. The use of more than one method of communication is also available to VoIP callers making it practical and beneficial to users. 

 What are the disadvantages of VoIP?

Although VoIP is quickly replacing traditional landlines, it has several drawbacks worth noting. These disadvantages may vary from one user to another, but some cut across and should be understood when learning about what is VoIP. Here are some of the most common shortcomings of VoIP worth keeping in mind. 

  • No power, No phone calls

VoIP requires constant electricity to work effectively and connect to the internet. When the power goes out, users cannot receive or make calls which can negatively affect the running of a business. In some cases, prolonged power outages may require that users revert to traditional lines and their restrictions.  

  • Needs reliable internet 

Internet is the lifeline of VoIP and needs to be stable for communication to go on uninterrupted. In cases where the connection is unsteady or slow, it can make it impossible to make calls or hold seamless conversations. If the internet connection is unavailable, users cannot make or receive calls which is not the case for regular phone lines that do not require an internet connection. 

  • Latency

Besides speeds and stability, VoIP can also be affected by latency resulting in a delay in information reaching its destination. Sometimes, the information relayed is mixed up because the voice packets were reassembled along the way. In such cases, it may hamper the ability to place or receive clear calls, requiring a quick solution. Some causes of latency are lousy internet connection or inadequate router.  

  • Lack of emergency call features

The origin of a call made over a VoIP network is hard to trace because of the portability of the phone system. The absence of GPS data or information from a cell tower makes it hard for users to be located during an emergency. Third parties such as the police or ambulance services will require that users provide their location before assistance can be dispatched. In cases where the user is unable to provide such information, they can be left stranded. 

  • Needs user training

For a VoIP system to be effective, a user must understand its inner workings and utilize them to the full. Users have to be trained on using their preferred platform, which can be accessed on various devices. For traditional telephony, training is minimal or none because most people are familiar with regular phone lines.  

 Examples of VoIP

VoIP has evolved since its inception and now provides enhanced communication experiences for users. Whether using a computer or phone to communicate, individuals or businesses can now easily make calls online. There are several types of internet phone services available, and they cater to various needs depending on activity. Some of the popular types of VoIP include:

VoIP Software applications 

Mounting a software application on a computer to allow a user to make calls is one of the most common VoIP systems. The application is offered at no cost and can be accessed on various devices. In most cases, the free applications are ideal for individuals and small businesses. Some of these VoIP software solutions include Skype and Zoom. 

Hosted system

The use of a third-party provider to install and maintain a VoIP system is another type of service offered to businesses. The provider handles all aspects of call delivery and ensures that uptime is always optimal. Hosted VoIP help increase productivity in an organization but can be expensive to set up. 

Self-Hosted system 

Installation and management of a self-hosted VoIP system is a plus for companies with staff proficient in the technology. The team is responsible for handling call delivery, directing calls to various devices, and regular maintenance. Large businesses with adequate workforce and resource will find this VoIP system ideal.

Overall, getting sufficient information on what is VoIP is the first step towards experiencing its benefits for personal or business use.