The Truth About VoIP Phone Systems

2:13 AM |

By Spencer Stern

VoIP ("Voice over Internet Protocol") phone systems are not a new invention. They commonly exist already, for example, when using the voice chat functionality in MSN, Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger, and even Skype. These systems don't talk (excuse the pun) nicely with each other since they are proprietary.

The Session Initiation Protocol (or SIP for short) is the basis for a true VoIP solution since it plays well with others. With the wide choice of open source clients available, users don't have to both have to work with closed source clients in order to connect with each other.

With a similar philosophy to the open source movement, VoIP works out a lot cheaper for connection and call costs based on SIP when compared to closed source or proprietary protocols. Furthermore, end users enjoy a lot more flexibility in how they wish to place and receive calls whether it is via a software phone or a hardware IP phone.

To send and receive audio over an IP network, VoIP use special compression techniques. From applications that are freely available for desktop and mobile devices, users are able to make phone calls via the Internet. Making calls over the Internet using the SIP protocol works out reasonably cheaper than proprietary VoIP phone systems and especially cheaper than traditional phone lines.

To transmit digital information over the IP network provider, analogue voice signals are converted into data packets. This opens up several benefits to using VoIP phone systems like the ability to do 3-way and conference calls, plus extremely cheaper international calls.

There are a number of ways to get started with using VoIP. From software-based phones to hardware IP phones which connect directly to your broadband or local area network. The cheapest way to get connected is to use a soft-phone which relies on your computer's hardware and of course, being turned on, in order to work. On the other hand, an IP phone connected to the internet directly may take longer to set up and incur more cost but has the added benefit of operating independently from your computer.

The administration of call costs usually works out scalable and manageable for VoIP phone systems in general. For example, a company wishes to monitor its staff and see at a glance whom is making high volume calls at specific times in the month. VoIP phone systems based on SIP usually offer monthly itemised billing with no long contracts.

To summarise, the chief benefit of using VoIP versus a Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN) is that wherever Internet access is available so can be your own phone line. When moving location you can easily take your phone line and number with you. In conclusion, the vast amount of call cost savings you will make over time makes no better reason to switch to a VoIP phone system.

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