VoIP for Business
By Midland Communications
What is VoIP?
VoIP allows you to make phone calls using a computer network, over a data network like the Internet. VoIP converts the voice signal from your telephone into a digital signal that travels over the internet then converts it back at the other end so you can speak to anyone with a regular phone number.
VoIP can be implemented in several ways, from a software program on your computer used with a headset and microphone to adaptors used with regular analogue home phones or you can use dedicated VoIP phones which look and act like regular phones but have specially designed chips to improve call quality.
How does it work?
Just like a modem converts digital signals from the PC into analogue (voice) traffic for transmission over a phone line, a VoIP-enabled phone or VoIP adaptor converts your voice into digital packets (using the special SIP protocol) for transmission over the internet. If you make a call to another VoIP phone, the opposite process occurs at the other end, and your voice emerges intact from the ether. If you make a call to a mobile or landline, your VoIP providers gateway decodes the call and sends it on as an ordinary voice call to the telephone exchange (PSTN).
Calling another VoIP line
User A dials the number for user B. The VoIP adaptor logs onto the routing server, which looks up the destination and sets up the call. Thereafter, the voice traffic passes directly over the internet between A and B.
Calling a non-VoIP (standard: landline or mobile) line
When A calls C, who has a conventional landline or mobile, the VoIP adaptor logs on as before. The routing server looks up the destination and finds it is a PSTN (standard) number. The call is routed via the providers PSTN gateway into the PSTN network as a normal call. Thereafter, traffic passes directly via the gateway.
Why use it and who benefits?
Small to medium-sized businesses with several employees, especially those with multiple office and remote workers, are likely to get the maximum benefit from VoIP. All employee at throughout the company at different sites are able to use the same telephone system. It cuts your business telephony cost; all calls to other VoIP phone users are free and other calls are usually competitively priced.
You can configure your system to give whatever impression you want to customers. For example, if you have associates or employees in other areas of the UK or even abroad, you can give them all extensions on the same number, or their own numbers with the same area code as your head office. No-one need know whether you have city centre offices, or a virtual office!
What will you need?
1. A VoIP enabled telephone: This can be an all-in-one handset, or a normal handset plugged into an adaptor, or a softphone: a computer program that uses a microphone and headphones attached to your computer to emulate a real handset.
2. An internet connection: A leased line or ADSL/cable broadband is ideal; dial-up (ISDN or ordinary telephone line) or a satellite internet connection will likely cause a reduction in sound quality. A standard 256Kb ADSL connection can accommodate 2-3 simultaneous calls; if you expect to need more frequently, you may wish to upgrade to a higher-bandwidth package.
3. An account with a VoIP service provider: This gives you a VoIP external number which is what other people dial to call you.
For more information on VoIP, how it can benefit your business and save you money please visit our website www.midlandcomms.co.uk or call 0800 7313 007 and speak to one of our advisors.
About the Author
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