What Is VoIP And How Does VoIP Work?

Making long-distance phone calls doesn't have to be costly for your small business. With VoIP, you can harness the power of the Internet to transform how you make day-to-day calls and larger conference calls. In this handy guide, we've explained what is VoIP, how it works at a technical level, which conference phones have VoIP functionality, and much more.

What is VoIP?

Short for "Voice over Internet Protocol", VoIP is a technology that uses your existing web connection as a way to make phone calls. It converts your voice to a digital signal allowing you to make a call over the internet. VoIP can also be referred to as IP telephony, internet telephony or broadband telephony.

What are the benefits of using VoIP?

VoIP is an attractive solution for reducing network infrastructure costs. Conferencing and long-distance calls are also much more cost-effective using a VoIP system vs traditional phone packages. This can be a gamechanger for small- and medium-sized business that are looking to cut costs. It's also extremely useful in areas with spotty or nonexistent phone coverage. Perhaps in the near future, a majority of cellular networks will be using VoIP technology to save money and offer more reliable service.

How Does VoIP Work?

First developed as part of ARPANET in 1973, VoIP did not enter the commercial market until 1995. Vocaltec was the first VoIP software, and it popularized the concept of an "Internet phone", even though consumer connections were still slow and the sound quality was poor. As broadband has become more commonplace, VoIP traffic has continued to grow.

So, how does VoIP work at a practical level? Essentially, a standard analog phone call is converted into digital data packets, which travel over your Internet connection until they reach their destination. The VoIP service takes your signal and converts it for web transmission. Meanwhile, you can also use a computer microphone to call someone directly from your desktop.

Today, many phone networks rely on VoIP technology to facilitate long-distance calls and improve international service. You might be using VoIP with your smartphone and not even know it. The versatile technology allows thousands of calls to be sent through a circuit switch to an IP gateway, without slowing down your phone connection.

What are VoIP Phones?

Today, there are three main ways to make a VoIP call using a capable conference phone:
  • ATA: This is the most common VoIP solution, which relies on an analog telephone adaptor (ATA). Essentially, the adaptor makes it possible to connect an analog phone to your computer. It converts the signal to digital packets that can be sent over an Internet connection.
  • Computer-to-Computer: With your phone plugged into a computer, you can use VoIP software to make calls without paying for normal phone service. Many VoIP applications are free to use, with premium features that you can pay extra for.
  • IP: These specialty VoIP phones rely on an Ethernet connector that plugs into your broadband router.

Are VoIP Phones Reliable?

Absolutely. With a VoIP phone like the FLX 2 or FLX UC 1500, you can enjoy professional-quality conferencing anywhere you have Internet access. This is ideal for business travelers who need a reliable conferencing solution while on the road. Meanwhile, you can also implement a VoIP solution in a large conference room, so that it works seamlessly with a wireless conferencing kit like the Revolabs Fusion.

No matter where you install VoIP technology, you'll reduce monthly costs and enjoy a more dependable signal. It allows your business to focus on the online space, rather than managing and paying for two networks.

To learn about how to setup VoIP phones for your business click here, and use our Product Finder to find the perfect unified communications technology for your needs.