The arrival of Internet services has phased out many traditional business systems, and our communication tools are no exception. Modern kids probably don’t know what a landline is. It sounds more like a country’s border than a once-revolutionary communication technology.
VoIP offers many advantages over landlines for businesses and has dramatically reduced the latter’s popularity. However, it also comes with its fair share of annoying features. This guide aims to demystify VoIP for anyone considering switching to internet-based communication.
What Is VoIP?
VoIP stands for “Voice over Internet Protocol.” It’s the supporting technology that makes meeting platforms like Skype and Google Voice possible. This form of communication has been around for a long time, but improvements to internet services in the past few decades have made it accessible to all levels of business.
Landline phones convert your voice into electrical energy and reverse the process on the other side. This is a grave oversimplification of the process, but is essentially how it works. In contrast, VoIP transforms your voice into data packets and delivers it to the recipient via the Internet.
It may sound like a slight difference in the method of travel, but it allows for various tools that facilitate meetings and presentations.
Advantages of VoIP
- Cost Effectiveness: VoIP significantly reduces long-distance and international calls costs. They also avoid the annoying miscellaneous charges taken by phone networks.
- Scalability: VoIP’s internet connection means it can easily match your business’s growth. You won’t have to call the phone company and adjust your infrastructure to a new deal.
- Associated Features: There’s a massive library of features that’s only possible through VoIP systems. They’re capable of advanced actions like running call analytics, acting as an automated attendant, and creating a blacklist.
- Remote Access: VoIP is an easy solution to the surging population of work-from-home employees. Most people own a VoIP-compatible smart device, which removes the burden of the company providing one.
- Cross Compatibility: Many VoIP software can be used with CRM applications to boost customer service and efficiency.
Disadvantages of VoIP
- Internet Dependence: VoIP call quality relies heavily on stable and speedy internet access. Users run the risk of dropped calls, static, or latency if used with a poor connection.
- Security Concerns: VoIP calls may be susceptible to threats like eavesdropping and hacking. Encryption and security protocols must be implemented to protect sensitive information.
What Is a VoIP Number?
Many features of traditional calling are present in VoIP as well. Users still have a virtual phone number tied to a user or device. There are two main types of VoIP numbers: fixed and non-fixed.
Fixed VoIP numbers are similar to conventional phone numbers. They’re tied to geographic locations and typically share the local area code. Keeping the area code means that people can perform phone lookup and trace the number back to your physical address, adding a layer of trust for the recipient. This makes fixed VoIP a popular option for businesses.
Non-fixed VoIP numbers are assigned to individual users instead of a location. Non-fixed numbers aren’t connected to a physical office, so you won’t have to secure an address when applying for one. Teams transitioning into remote work should opt for a non-fixed VoIP number to take the office on the go.
What Is a VoIP Phone?
A VoIP phone is any phone that makes calls through the Internet. People who want to retain their analog phones can use a VoIP adapter to convert telephone signals into digital ones that can move through the Internet.
Your chosen VoIP phone method depends on your business’s budget and mobility needs. The two types include hardphones and softphones.
Hardphones, or hardware phones, closely resemble the phone systems we’re all familiar with. Imagine the quintessential office desk with the chunky black phone sitting on the corner. They’re commonly hardwired into the desk space and are connected through the office’s network.
Most hardphones include a screen for taking conference calls or changing the device settings. It can record calls, forward messages, and set the system to “do not disturb.” Functionally, it works like a standard office phone except that it communicates through the Internet. This makes hardphones easy to pick up and integrate into the workplace.
Softphones use software to communicate. They’re not tied down to a desk like hardphones and can be taken worldwide without a problem. However, a thoroughIP lookupcould connect the device to an individual. If you’ve downloaded software like Zoom or Discord, you’ve converted your device into a softphone.
Despite their name, softphones aren’t limited to your mobile phone. Any device with a microphone, speakers, and internet capabilities can be a softphone. The typical list of offenders is laptops, home PCs, and tablets.
What are VoIP Service Providers?
You could start a Zoom call right now, and you’d be using VoIP. There’s no reason to rely on a third-party management service when using Internet calling for personal use. However, businesses that emphasize the reliability of their technology should consider going through a service provider.
Despite VoIP’s popularity, there are many cases where clients or professional partners reach out through cellular networks or landlines. After all, we don’t have access to high-speed internet 100 percent of the time despite Verizon and AT&T’s claims.
A VoIP provider converts your voice packets into a compatible format for the recipient. This allows for cross-communication through different call systems without lag or static. This service enables cell phone users to reach you through your VoIP number and vice versa.
Always Use VoIP Safely
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) can be a powerful tool to raise office efficiency and accommodate remote work needs. Its advantages in cost savings, rich features, and scalability make it an appealing choice for many business owners.
However, VoIP must have the proper infrastructure surrounding it. Businesses must invest in a highly reliable internet service and consider the cost of replacing employee devices. Online communications are also susceptible to attack, but a good VoIP service provider can help manage those risks.
VoIP will undoubtedly grow as communication relies more heavily on the Internet. Hopefully, this guide helped you decide on your next steps and understand the challenges you’ll face. If you need further information on other areas you can improve upon, InfoTracer has hundreds of articles documenting methods to optimize your operations.