What is VoIP?

by Luis Maza     Tuesday, August 21st, 2012.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a revolutionary business phone service that allows phone systems for small businesses and large businesses to communicate on the same wavelength.

VoIP is essentially a method for converting traditional analog audio signals into digital data that is then transmitted via the Internet. VoIP then uses a standard Internet connection to bypass traditional expensive long-distance fees and place free phone calls, or an unlimited number of phone calls at a set monthly rate. For example, Jive, a leader in the business VoIP industry, charges a low monthly rate per user based on the number of users within a company.

Over the last several years, VoIP has revolutionized the telecommunications industry, completely reinventing how businesses make traditional phone calls. Experts anticipate that one day, VoIP services will entirely replace traditional telecommunications, as VoIP is more reliable and far less expensive to operate.

There are three different types of VoIP services in use today.

  • Analog Telephone Adaptor (ATA) – This is the most common form of VoIP. An ATA allows VoIP customers to connect a standard analog phone to their computers or Internet connections. The ATA is an analog to digital converter technology that then takes the traditional analog signal and converts it directly into a digital signal that can then be successfully transmitted via the Internet. This adapter is simple to install. Simply plug the cable that normally feeds into the wall into the ATA. Installation is literally as simple as 1-2-3!
  • IP Phones – These unique phones resemble a standard digital telephone with a handset, buttons and a cradle. Instead of being fitted with standard RJ-11 connectors, IP phones are connected with a RJ-45 Ethernet connector. An IP phone connects directly to the computer’s router and has all the necessary software and hardware installed to complete an IP call. IP calls are extremely beneficial for people making calls from Wi-Fi hot spots.
  • Computer-to-Computer – This type of VoIP technology simply requires computer speakers, a microphone, sound card and an Internet connection. The Internet has an abundance of free software for these types of calls and the only fee that is charged is the typical Internet Service Provider (ISP) fee.

Additionally, many VoIP providers, such as Jive, offer a variety of bundled services, including auto attendants, call logs, call queues, voicemail, call reports, find-me follow-me features, caller ID, unified messaging, speed dial, music on hold, message on hold, custom schedules, call routing, desktop integration, remote access, virtual extensions, online fax, LDAP Integration, dial-by-name directories, ring groups, call transfers, call forwarding, Visual Dial Plan Editor, online PBX controls, call recording and intercom features. These features help save companies money, while boosting overall productivity.

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