The internet was a game changer for business. It opened up a fast-paced world of connectivity and information sharing that catapulted our communications light years beyond where we were in a very short time. Since then, the quest for new applications for the internet has never stopped. One of these applications is VoIP. Here we outline the history, evolution, and basics of this revolutionary technology.
Before the internet was applied to phone services, we used phone lines for our communications. We faced long-distance charges, poor connections, dial up modems! We were also tethered to a physical location that housed the phone line. Things were slow, costly, and inefficient. As the internet gained momentum, they began to realize it too could be a channel for voice communications, and eventually video too (thanks to Skype). While the initial stages were choppy and fraught with poor voice quality, the kinks got ironed out and it became a powerhouse of real-time communication for far less than phone lines.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) was introduced to the market a little over two decades ago, in 1995. Since then, it has grown to become the leading vehicle for voice communications. While it started with computer to computer voice communications, it is now usable from PC to PC, PC to phone, phone to phone, IP phone to phone, and IP phone to IP phone. You can read your voicemail as a text on your mobile. You can route calls to any of your devices, wherever you are, and the caller doesn’t feel a difference. It is the foundation for any Unified Communications strategy. It allows to communicate more clearly, cheaply, and efficiently than traditional phone lines ever did. But how does it actually work?
To put it simply, VoIP is the transmission of voice “data packets” from one IP address to another over the Internet. Originally it served as a work-around for long-distance and international telephone charges. VoIP operates by transferring voice signals between IP addresses, which means that these signals have to transform into pieces of data small enough to transmit. Vocal samples from the sender are broken down into voice “packets,” which are given routing information and sent to the receiving end. The packets transmit one-by-one, then re-form as close to the original state as possible, creating one whole voice. This process compresses the voice signal, and then decompresses the signal for the receiver.*
This is not a simple issue. Both hosted VoIP and on-site have their strengths and weaknesses. Read our blog focused solely on the topic: Hosted Vs. On-Premise PBX – What’s the Difference?
Unfortunately, there is not easy answer to this. There isn’t an out-of-the-box solution that will fit everyone’s needs. Each provider has pros and cons and each business has different, specialized needs. Want some tips on choosing a provider? Check out our post 7 Tips To Help You Navigate 500+ Hosted Phone Providers.
We firmly believe that the VoIP marketplace, services, and installation are too complex to take on in-house. We’ve built our business around developing expertise in this sector. We understand what’s available and who does what best. We can find you the communications solution that fits your business now and into the future.