Voice over internet protocol
Voice over internet protocol , also called VoIP, IP Telephony, Internet telephony, Broadband telephony, Broadband Phone and Voice over Broadband is the routing of voice conversations over the Internet or through any other IP-based network.
Companies providing VoIP service are commonly referred to as providers, and protocols which are used to carry voice signals over the IP network are commonly referred to as Voice over IP or VoIP protocols.
Use of such services is growing rapidly among small businesses, however, it is important to understand and balance the benefits and drawbacks of the service.
VoIP Versus Traditional Phone Service (POTS)
When making a VoIP call, you must have a phone that appropriately understands internet protocol (IP Phone). An IP phone can look a lot like a traditional phone, or it can be a piece of software that you download. Either way, the standard for IP phones cuurently is g.722, or "High Definition" quality. Therefore, a benefit in choosing VoIP over traditional phone lines is call quality.
If you make a VoIP call, the call will originate over the internet. If the person you are calling is using a traditional line, the call can cross to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) near the endpoint of your call, creating some cost savings (as opposed to a long distance call that travels fully over the PSTN). A call that is made completely over the internet (from IP phone to IP phone) never crosses the PSTN, and is thereby free, depending on the VoIP provider of your choosing. Therefore, a second benefit of VoIP over Plain Old Telephone Service is often cost savings.
A third advantage in VoIP versus POTS is that VoIP, being a newer technology, has several options in customizing your telephone service (e.g. new extensions, ring rules, call forwarding rules, customized auto attendants, customized music on hold, voicemail to email, etc.)