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Belkins Glossary

What is VOIP?

VoIP is an acronym for voice over Internet protocol. This enables the transmission of voice and other multimedia content including messages over an Internet connection. This is a useful technology for a business as this includes features that are not available on common phone services. 

What is VoIP in a broader sense?

Some of the available VoIP phone system features include call recording and voice to mail services. This is the technology that enables one to make a VoIP call from numerous devices over the Internet. The devices that can be used include a mobile phone with a VoIP app installed, a computer with WebRTC-enabled browsers, a VoIP phone, and any other data-driven devices.

How does VoIP work?

VoIP phone service uses an Internet connection instead of copper wiring typical of traditional telephone services. VoIP converts audio signals, which are generated when a person speaks into digital data. The digital data is then sent to the appropriate receiver or receivers via the Internet through Ethernet or Wi-Fi. VoIP uses codecs that compress large data information for faster transmission. At the receiver end, the data is then decompressed to the original data and then converted to audio. The compression process may reduce the voice quality. However, speed transmission and connectivity are improved as a result of reduced bandwidth requirements. The process of sending data involves the encapsulation of audio messages into data packets. These packets are then transmitted over an IP network. The receiver device then encapsulates the data packets into an audio signal.

Explore how VoIP works

The following steps will show you how VoIP works:

  • First, your device must be connected to the Internet.
  • When you dial a number, the VoIP service provider is alerted to call that particular number.
  • The VoIP service establishes the call and facilitates the exchange of data packets from both the caller and the receiver.
  • Finally, the VoIP device receives data packets that are then converted to the audio signal which you hear.

Is VoIP reliable?

Is VoIP reliable? Is it good compared to other communication methods? Just read through till the end, and you will get clear answers to all your questions.

Pros and Cons of VoIP

VoIP has both advantages and disadvantages, so stay tuned to explore them.

Benefits of VoIP

Lower costs

The initial setup of a landline in a company requires a large amount of money. Most of the costs will be from hardware installations that can range from $500 -$2000 per user. VoIP networks eliminate all the extra hardware costs as this only requires a broadband connection for them to operate. By using VoIP services, a business can minimize expenses, including repair and maintenance fees.

High-quality sound

The initial introduction of VoIP phone services was not that good. Calls dropped for no reason, and voice quality was undesirable. Today’s fast and stable Internet connection resolves all the issues. The voice quality has now improved with no lagging and dropout issues - a good feature, especially when negotiating with a business lead.

Remote access and increased accessibility

Employees who work at home or in remote areas away from the company premises can communicate with other employees and attend meetings as well. Employees can remain productive irrespective of their location. They can work on their smartphones and tablets using VoIP phone services. With the access to the Internet connection, you can make and receive calls from just anywhere.

Extra features

This includes extra features, such as auto-attendant and call-transferring. This allows a company to get prospects and manage many business leads with little manpower. The auto-attendant feature enables your company to sound more professional. Business VoIP has multi-party calling capabilities, which is useful, especially if a company has to make conference calls for multiple people to join in.

Reduced calling expenses

In the past, data charges were high, and the use of VoIP features was very limited. But today, internet speeds have improved considerably, as well as the drastic reduction in data charges. With this new setup, VoIP calls have become even cheaper, compared to the traditional circuit-switched telephone. Statistics have shown that a company could save up to 60% on local calls when using VoIP phone services. Unbelievably, on international calls, they could save up to 90%!

Downside of VoIP

Security

Since VoIP uses an Internet connection for its services, it is, therefore, subjected to cybersecurity risks. Threats such as ransomware, malware, and viruses are very common, especially when using an unsecured Internet connection.

Requirement of a reliable Internet connection

VoIP phone services are as good as your Internet connection. Using poor internet services, you are bound to have an unsatisfactory experience.

Latency and jitter

Latency and jitter problems occur when data packets are delayed during transmission or when the packets are re-assembled incorrectly. This occurs when using a slow router which can be overloaded with incoming data much quicker. Also, internet cables with low operating speeds are a cause of this problem.

Limited tracking in case of emergency

In case of an emergency, after dialing 911, you will also need to communicate your location. The reason being that VoIP calls come from an IP address that does not have GPS data to track the location.

From the above information of the pros and cons of VoIP, we can conclude that the benefits outweigh the downside of VoIP by a big margin.

Is it easy to use VoIP?

VoIP is very easy to use, and the setup process is simple and does not require complicated procedures. The only requirement is to have a stable Internet connection then you are ready to go. The only technical thing you need now is to connect the network cable to your VoIP phone. Moreover, if you are using a mobile phone, this is as easy as downloading the app from the store: sign in, and you are ready to go.

How much does VoIP cost?

How much does VoIP cost? The business VoIP service is available in two forms:

  • Hosted - in this category, you find service providers to do the hosting for you. The provider will be responsible for the equipment and tech challenges that arise. It is the most preferred choice as it is cheaper, and you don't have to worry about any technicalities. The monthly costs are $20 - $30.
  • On-site hosting – the hosting equipment will be situated at the business premises. The company is responsible for troubleshooting and maintaining its equipment. This is the preferred choice for large companies who want to have direct control and access over the system. The initial cost of setting up your business VoIP system can be around $500 - $1000 per user. Other additional costs include maintenance and IT costs.

Top VoIP phone system features

Security

VoIP systems provide safe and secure transmission of information. TLS and SRTP scramble are VoIP security technologies that increase the security of your conversation, making it quite impossible for outsiders to penetrate it.

Call recording

This is an important feature as it enables you over time to assess how your staff interacts with business leads. The assessment can help you identify critical areas which require improvement. The recording is anonymous to both the client and the operator, and only an authorized person can access the recordings.

Enhanced audio quality

HD voice, a VoIP feature, enhances the sound quality of the phone call. It provides crispy-clear audio quality, which ensures that no one has to repeat themselves.

Unified communication

This allows different methods of communication to be achieved on just one platform. Meetings can be video conferences, and the efficiency of employees improves through real-time interaction with each other.

Auto-attendant

This allows clients' calls to be diverted to the appropriate department or person by providing a selection option when they make a call. Moreover, this can send voicemails to your email in case you are unreachable.

Mobile and desktop apps

These apps allow you to have your office in your wallet wherever you are.

Do I need a VoIP phone?

For those who are unsure of their need for a VoIP phone, the following points will help you clarify that.

Do you travel more often?

VoIP mobile app allows you to be in contact with both employees and customers using the same number regardless of where you are.

Looking for something cheap

Traditional landline phones require expensive phone lines. On the other hand, VoIP requires just an Internet connection. It saves a company a lot of money, making it more profitable in the long run.

Easy installation

VoIP does not require any extra hardware like cable lines associated with landlines. It does not require any technical expertise to get started. Moreover, mobile apps are available to enable you to use VoIP phone services conveniently.

Extra features

The extra VoIP phone system features come as part of the standard package, which is impossible for normal landlines and would require additional costs.

With a reliable Internet connection, now is a high time to use VoIP services. On top of extra features available within the service, it provides a very affordable means of communication to your clients and helps to get leads much more easily.

Tips for selecting the best VoIP service provider

Know your requirements

Take note of the services: both free and those that need a subscription. Then, you need to outline only the features that you are interested in. It protects you from having unnecessary features which will increase your expenses.

Third-party integration

Check to see if your VoIP service providers support the integration of other support systems.

Security

The VoIP service providers must have strong VoIP security measures such as end-to-end encryption. Other security measures which you may want to look at include multi-factor authentication and a secure database.

Customer support

The service providers must have customer support that is available 24/7 in case you experience a fault that needs immediate intervention. It is crucial for business as it enables you to be in touch with your clients and prospective leads.

Plan and pricing

Once you have a clear picture of what you need and a list of providers meeting the criteria, the next step is to review their pricing plan. Choose only the best VoIP provider who offers the best value for money.

Who is the best VOIP provider?

Each company has its own requirements and needs, so it’s up to you to choose the right provider for your business. Hopefully, this article will help you to find the best one who will meet all your criteria.

 

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