What is VoIP & How Do Business VoIP Services Work?
VoIP stands for voice over the Internet. It is a term used to describe the transmission of voice over IP networks. Other closely related names are Internet telephony and voice over broadband.
To understand how the VoIP works, lets first see how GSM mobile phones work. In the conventional GSM mobile communication, an Integrated Circuit Card Identifier Is the address of a particular Sim card (ICCID). The ICCID is typically a number. If you call a person B, the voice will be converted into electromagnetic waves and transmitted through base stations to the destination. Phone B receiver will pick the electromagnetic waves and turn them back into sound.
VoIP services work in almost the same way. The main difference is that voice is converted into data packets rather than electromagnetic waves. The data packets are then transmitted through packet-switched networks such as TCP or UDP connections. Here, the unique identifier is known as the IP address. An IP address is a unique string that identifies each device in a network that uses the Internet protocol. In VoIP, the IP identifies the source and destination of the voice. We can, therefore, say that IP address acts as the “ICCID” in VoIP communications.
It is important to note that in Voip services, an IP address identifies a device, not the user. It is possible to have multiple users on one device. In such cases, the user identification is done by specialized software installed in the devices. For example, in internet telephony, the user can be identified by login details. Again, the role of the IP address is to direct the data packets to the particular devices. Unlike conventional phones whose usage is measured in minutes, VoIP usage is usually charged depending on the volume of data transmitted.
How do VoIP services work?
The calling end requires a voice detector, an analog to digital converter, an encoder, and a data transmission network. The human voice is in analog form. The analog to digital converter converts the sound into digital form for transmission through the packet switched networks. Before the data packets are transmitted, they must be encoded. Encoding involves defining the destination and providing mechanisms for error detection. After encoding, the data packets are sent through physical channels such as LAN and Wi-Fi networks. The receiving end requires a decoder and a digital to analog converter. Here the data packets are decoded and converted back to voice.
Forms of VoIP services
There are various forms of VoIP services. The most common are residential VoIP service and software-based VoIP services.
Software-based VoIP is the most popular VoIP service. It is accessed on Internet-enabled devices such as PCs and mobile phones. To use the service, one needs to download special software and create an account.
Residential VoIP service works in almost the same way as the traditional land-line phone service. To use this service, one needs to plug a phone adapter into a broadband Internet line.
VoIP versus traditional phones
VoIP services come with numerous advantages. Compared to traditional phones networks, they have lower installation costs. There is no need for the expensive base stations. Furthermore, the consumer’s communication costs are reduced. This is because most VoIP services are charged depending on the amount of data transmitted. Finally, multiple calls can be transmitted over a single broadband connection.
One of the major disadvantages of VoIP is difficulties in communication with emergency services numbers such as 911. VoIP uses phone numbers that are linked to the IP address. This makes it difficult for the operators to know the geographical location of the caller. When the caller’s geographic information is unavailable, routing the call to the nearest call center becomes a challenge. Furthermore, VoIP calls are dependent on the strength of the Internet connection. They are, therefore, susceptible to limitations such as latency and packet loss.
Business VoIP solutions and Business VoIP service providers
Because of the development in technology and because of its convenience, many businesses seek VoIP service providers hoping to streamline their communications. Business VoIP solutions and phone services can range from being reasonable to very expensive depending on the business’s needs and size. Oftentimes, VoIP service providers offer a la carte solutions so that each business can get an individualized business phone service.