Why use VOIP and what are the benefits?
Small to medium-sized businesses with several employees, especially those with distributed offices and teleworkers, are likely to get the maximum benefit from VoIP. 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 is it?
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a way to make phone calls using the Internet as the transmission method, rather than a land line. You can make and receive calls from other VoIP users, mobile users, and people with ordinary landlines. The integration between any ordinary line and VoIP is complete and undetectable to callers.
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 adapter 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 other. If you make a call to a mobile or land line, your VoIP provider's 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 adapter 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: land line or mobile) line
When A calls B, who has a conventional land line or mobile, the VoIP adapter 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.
What will it cost
Costs vary dependent on the service provided. In general there will be a one off set up charge and monthly rental per number (for which you will receive one incoming and one outgoing line and a varying number of internal extensions.)
VoIP to VoIP calls are free and calls to landlines and mobiles are generally lower than land line service providers' charges.