What is VoIP?
There’s a Good Chance You Already Use VoIP at Home and Don’t Necessarily Know It
Voice over IP (VoIP) refers to the technologies and transmission techniques involved in the delivery of voice communications sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, such as the Internet. VoIP service was first designed to provide voice communication between computer users in different locations. For example, if you have ever used Skype, you were speaking by using VoIP. Although it is still used that way, it has evolved into a telephone network that can replace a traditional telephone system. People using a VoIP service can call any PSTN or VoIP telephone anywhere in the world and can receive calls on telephone sets connected to the Internet or Local Area Network (LAN). VoIP allows both voice and data communications to be run over a single network, which can significantly reduce infrastructure costs.
Millions of households in the USA are using VoIP today as their “normal” phone service. In many (or even most) cases they don’t even realized that they are using VoIP to power their calls. Every cable provider that is selling phone service today, usually included as part of a package called the triple play, used VoIP as the technology to power that phone service. That’s why usually same modem that you use to get your broadband Internet connection is the same one that your phone line now plugs into. That’s VoIP.
Because of the features and efficiency that VoIP technology can provide, businesses are migrating from traditional copper-wire telephone systems to VoIP business phone systems. In 2008, 80% of all new PBX lines installed internationally were Voice over IP.
Business VoIP Implementation
There are a variety of ways that businesses can use Voice over IP technologies to augment or replace traditional phone systems.
- IP PBX/On-Premises VoIP - An IP PBX business phone system is like a traditional PBX residing in an on-premise location, but with technology that uses IP routing. The voice signal is transmitted via data packets from the IP phone to the PBX server over a LAN. Calls then are routed through a traditional telco company or over the Internet, often using a protocol called SIP (Session Initiation Protocol).
- Hosted VoIP – Hosted-VoIP services rely on a service provider’s hosted-PBX equipment to route a company’s voice and data traffic. Calls are routed over the PSTN (public switched telephone network) to the hosted-PBX system. Just because the system is hosted at another data center it does not mean that the PBX environment is a true, multi-tenant cloud based voice application. Sometimes, vendors just take an on-premises PBX and offer the service from their datacenter.
- Managed VoIP – ShoreTel Sky is a managed VoIP service. This means that we offer all of the equipment, software, operations facilities and technical expertise needed for your company to reap the benefits of an cloud VoIP phone system without the headaches of maintaining and managing it yourself. Our state-of-the-art and secure data centers deliver a true multi-tenant experience with fantastic reliability.
Is Voice over IP the same as “Cloud?”
Not always. On-Premise VoIP solutions typically do not use cloud technology since the servers and infrastructure are located at the customers facility. Many, but not all hosted VoIP services use the cloud. ShoreTel Sky’s managed business VoIP service is a cloud-based solution.
Is VoIP the same as PBX?
No, it’s not. PBX means private branch exchange and it is the collection of business logic and lets your phone system have extension dialing, phone directories, menus, voicemail, etc… VoIP is the technology that enables voice to travel (or be routed) using digital data packets that follow the same rules as all of the other data that flows over the Internet. A loose analogy might be to think of a camera. Digital cameras are the equivalent of an IP PBX and an old-fashioned camera with film is like a traditional analog or TDM based PBX. What made the camera digital was the transition from analog film to storing the images as data in the form of 1′s and 0′s. The move to VoIP has done the same for PBX systems.
Are you ready for VoIP?
Sometimes, a picture’s worth 1,000 words. Take a look at our quick tour or demo videos to see for yourself how VoIP could work for you.Print