Little did we know a time would come when we would prefer tossing away traditional landline phones. And that is exactly what VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology has made us do, as it completely reshaped communication mediums.
Today, a vast number of people around the globe use a variety of VoIP services—and many of us want to know – what is VoIP technology? How does it work? What features does one get? And most importantly, why has it become so essential?
Today, these are the questions we will elaborate on. So, if you have been inquisitive about VoIP and would like to get your hands on information that tells you more about it, read on.
So, what exactly is a VoIP phone system? The simple answer in layman terms-- a VoIP phone system is one that delivers phone calls over Internet Protocol (IP) networks instead of a traditional landline network of twisted copper lines. The communication medium first converts your voice into data packets, or in other words, the analog voice signal into a digital signal compresses the voice data packets and relays them over the internet. Once these voice data packets are received on the other end, the digital data is uncompressed, (converts to standard telephone signal in case you are reaching a non-VoIP number), and the receiver hears crystal-clear sound via their communication device.
Now that you have an idea of how your voice ‘mysteriously’ travels across the internet, let us shed light on What makes this product of ground-breaking telecom tech such a key part of modern everyday life—both for residential and commercial purposes? What makes a VoIP phone different from a traditional landline phone? Is VoIP different functionality-wise? All these questions arise for potential subscribers of VoIP phone service since the two systems seem to carry quite a few resemblances.
A dedicated VoIP phone is designed to connect to the SIP server at the VoIP service provider’s end via high-speed internet. VoIP tech makes use of the modem & router, which are standard devices that connect you to the ISP’s network. These phones can connect to the VoIP service provider across the internet either via wired Ethernet or Wi-Fi. In case you are utilizing a VoIP service at home, it would not matter, but in a business place, the PBX system becomes redundant. The use of more than one telephone line and management of incoming and outgoing calls does not necessitate a PBX system when VoIP is employed to set up an internal exchange.
This alone allows the user to cut down on equipment costs and save a significant amount. Why? There is no extra hardware cost involved besides you having to invest in a dedicated VoIP phone device, in case you choose to have a desktop phone. Also, an ordinary phone can be used for the purpose, though you will require an Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA) so as to convert the analog voice signal into digital data packets.
If you choose not to connect your VoIP phone device via Ethernet, a wireless connection allows you greater mobility. Meaning, you would neither have to keep it sitting in the same place. Nor would you have to deal with an unsightly cluster of wires needed to make it easy to access. All it would require is your internal Wi-Fi network to make and receive calls. There are no functionality hindrances, whether the VoIP phone is at your home or workplace. It will only make it all the more convenient to remain mobile.
You do not have to have a desk phone for your VoIP phone system. All you need is a VoIP application, which is given by the provider, and in turn, helps eliminate the hardware cost. But, how would you make calls then? Well, you leave it to your service provider. Just like you make voice calls via Skype or WhatsApp over the internet, a connection is established between your VoIP phone and the VoIP number on the receiving end via the cloud. The difference is the Mobile VoIP app given to you by your provider will be automatically compatible with the networking protocol in place at your provider’s end. Whereas apps like Skype or Viber use their own proprietary protocols.
A stable internet connection determines VoIP call quality. Dropped calls, distortion, and poor voice quality are fast becoming a thing of the past courtesy the advanced VoIP tech. Internet service providers these days, strive to provide crisp internet connections to customers because of how TV and phone usage revolves around high-speed internet. And since more often than not these providers also offer a VoIP phone service, you would not have to worry about dropped calls or a weak signal. There will be minimal to no packet loss or lag. The more reliable your internet connection, the more crisp and clear the sound.
Sticking to a traditional landline phone is fast becoming a thing of the past. So if you have been thinking about tossing your landline phone into oblivion, and want to look ahead to the next-gen telecom tech, here are the top VoIP phone features that may help you get convinced further.
Most are common features that you must be already aware of, such as Call Forwarding, Call Routing, Call Recording, Call Transfer, and others. But there are some more appealing ones too, that you would not want to leave unexplored.
In this time and age, making phone calls for the most basic tasks is no longer a norm. Instead, messaging apps have taken all the hype. From social media platforms like Facebook which has its own messaging app to VoIP services that bring you instant messaging capability in conjunction with a hosted PBX phone system or otherwise. VoIP enabled systems used in a business environment usually come integrated with an instant messaging feature that lets an organization setup team chat as an alternative to resorting to phone calls and emails.
It can be a hassle to pay close attention to voicemails and follow word to word. You can even miss out on critical details, leading to unintended consequences. The Voicemail to text feature with a VoIP phone service provides you with the ability to convert voicemails into text—so your voicemails get transcribed making it easier and more convenient for you to make note of important information. These transcribed voicemails are then dispatched to your connected inbox.
This one is ideal for business owners. When orders pile up or your company gets bombarded with customer calls, chances are a few voicemails will get missed out. For dilemmas like this one, the Voicemail to Email feature of a VoIP service comes handy. Every voicemail you receive gets redirected to your inbox. With email notifications, you can cater to each voicemail taking your time to gather information and devise necessary action.
This premium level feature adds a refined touch to your business’ outlook. Whenever a customer calls, they are greeted by a virtual assistant who then redirects the call to the relevant personnel. Your business can cut down on the cost of hiring someone for the switchboard when a virtual assistant can answer, escalate, and route multiple incoming calls every day.
The dread of spam calls gets thrown out the window with the call screening feature. A business’ customer support window is quite often overwhelmed with spam calls, and it can be stressful to prioritize high-value calls from real customers. With the call screening feature, caller IDs are used as a filter, and you can choose to take or abandon an incoming call, redirect to voicemail or escalate. This helps reduce the call volume directed to customer support or sales team.
The above-mentioned features are enough to convince a business to choose a VoIP phone system over a landline. But there are some other details too, that we would like to highlight here.
VoIP is a more cost-effective solution because it allows you to do away with additional hardware. You can use the devices you already own, with a piece or two of additional hardware. Or else you can opt for VoIP applications that allow you the flexibility of using a smartphone, laptop, desktop, etc. to connect to the internet and make/receive VoIP calls.
Quite obviously, in this case, you do not have to pay for using a dedicated landline, as you do in case of a traditional phone. The cost per call is low both in case of local, nationwide, and global calling. In fact, at times, ISPs even offer unlimited calling at no charge, both for residential and business use, which becomes one of the most enticing features of VoIP phone service. ISPs are able to do so because of the minimal cost incurred at their end given how the VoIP service works.
It is also more reliable because a VoIP system exists in the cloud and not in the hardware. While a reliable internet connection is one of the core pillars of a VoIP phones, the system maintains reliability even if the internet stops working or happens to glitch out. While this seldom happens if internet and VoIP phone services are provided by a reliable ISP, when it does, the call forwarding feature comes in handy.
You can pre-choose where you want to forward all incoming calls during an outage. Calls can be forwarded to your smartphone or any other communication device that you have opted for to forward calls.
Like your regular web experience, VoIP calling is also susceptible to online threats—calls may be intercepted, the system may suffer DoS (Denial of Service) attacks or experience caller ID spoofing. These threats are present at all times-- quite like the threat of unwanted physical access to hardware in case of a traditional landline. However, VoIP tech has survived and evolved over the past 2 decades since its emergence. And, that alone tells VoIP service providers have been successful at securing their services, despite the evolving nature of online threats. Yes, there are breaches. And big ones too. But if effective measures are taken in advance to counter known and potential threats, you can make professional VoIP networks “abuse-proof”.
So, remember VoIP security is about much more than simple encryption of data, and when you choose a service provider, you must research well. Make sure you choose a VoIP provider reputed to keep tabs on VoIP security.
Now that you have a clearer picture of how the VoIP phone system works, what benefits it brings you, and how it can help you cut down on costs, you can set out to subscribe to a VoIP service for your home or business. Major U.S. ISPs routinely provide a VoIP service for residential and commercial purposes. For instance, Charter Spectrum™.
Your subscription to Spectrum Phone may just be the one thing you need—a VoIP phone service that is totally secure and connects to the internet over one of the most reliable networks in the U.S., managed by one of the most reputed ISPs.
The best part is the Spectrum Bundle, with VoIP phone service and internet, which gets you an amazing discount too. You can enjoy unlimited nationwide calling with 28 useful phone features for under $10. Plus you can choose Spectrum Voice International for only $5/month, and connect to 70 countries with unlimited calling minutes—including most of Europe and India.
And, if you happen to be looking for TV entertainment too, we would recommend you take a step further and go for the Spectrum SILVER Package—this is one of Spectrum’s most popular bundles in terms of value for money—and brings you super-fast internet, a reliable VoIP phone connection, and an all-round Spectrum SILVER TV lineup. Call the Spectrum phone number, if you have any questions about offers that include VoIP phone service.
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