VoIP, which simply stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, really is one of the more affordable and less costly ways to provide your business with an effective and efficient phone line. A typical PBX phone system is also going to come with VoIP services, along with some of the typical call management features that you would expect. These features include auto attendant, call screening, call transfer, call waiting, call forwarding, call routing, call return, conference call, music on hold, night service etc. Along with all of these offerings, a VoIP provider can also offer additional features like voice mail, call forwarding, voicemail, and even a dedicated number that you can connect to your home phone or cell phone to have access to your VoIP service as well.
However, in order to take advantage of all the great benefits that VoIP offers a business, it’s important to first understand what it is exactly. It is essentially a type of phone system that utilizes IP packets for making telephone calls rather than traditional telephone lines. With VoIP the calls are made over the internet-based data network instead of using the public switched telephone network.
The way a VoIP phone service works is quite simple actually.
Your computer connects to the internet through your ISP, through a gateway called a sip, and then it’s up to the user’s imagination what else can happen. You may have a very basic system that has only a sip, but you could expand that system by purchasing additional soft switch equipment to attach it to your existing internet connection or maybe even another server. Once you have the sip portion of your VoIP solution configured correctly, you can then choose any number of web-based application programs that will allow you to access the programs as if they were simply an extension of your normal telephone line.
Many of these applications will be open source and can be used without any cost whatsoever on your end. They are often referred to as SIP trunking applications and there are a plethora of them available out there. One popular choice is Java-based VoIP solutions. However, the biggest drawback to these soft switch phone systems is that they use your ISP as their servers. For some people this can be acceptable because they have dedicated IP numbers, but for others, especially those who may not want to share their IP numbers, this can be a big problem.
With SIP soft switch VoIP solutions it is possible to leverage the power of modern phone technology while avoiding all of the problems associated with using your ISP as your VoIP servers. Instead of having to use an ISP as the primary server, you can instead configure your VoIP system to redirect all of your outgoing communications to your private IP number. You can then take any outgoing VoIP calls and convert them into standard analog voice transmissions over the Internet. This allows you to take advantage of all of the capabilities that VoIP offers but without having to run any servers or worry about the ever-changing infrastructure.
There are also quite a few cost savings that you can enjoy through SIP trunking. For example, traditional phone service plans typically charge per minute and per call. If you were to use your regular phone service in addition to VoIP phone service, you would immediately be charged a high amount for both calls. However, by utilizing a sip trunking application, you can reduce the cost associated with your VoIP phone service by as much as 50%. In fact, some providers even provide additional features, such as automated attendant assistance, call distribution, extension dialing, call waiting, and the ability to connect to multiple lines at once, for a low monthly fee.
Perhaps the most significant advantage provided by sip trunks is their ability to allow seamless connectivity between various systems and devices. With traditional networks, if one system fails, the entire system has to malfunction in order for users to continue using the network they have already established. With an internet-based phone system, this scenario does not play itself out. SIP trunking allows you to seamlessly make use of multiple connections at the same time, allowing you to continue to communicate with multiple clients even when one or more of those connections fail.
It is also possible for an individual to use VoIP telephony applications with their traditional phone system.
This is known as PC-to-PC functionality and it is now readily available. The implementation process involves an initial configuration of your current system, then allowing the IP data to pass through your VoIP phone service provider’s existing Ethernet lines.
- This allows you to use your PC as an instrument that merges your telephone wiring with your internet telephony wiring.
- This provides you with an effective mechanism for saving money and improving productivity.
- You can find out more information on how to set up a PC-to-PC converter to take advantage of this functionality by registering for an online tutorial.