VoIP(Voice Over IP) A digital telephone service that uses the Internet for transport, as well as private IP networks. “IP” stands for “Internet Protocol.” In order that calls can originate and terminate from regular telephones, connections to the public telephone network (PSTN) are also provided. Telephone companies, cable companies and dedicated providers offer VoIP calling for a fixed monthly fee or low per-minute charge. Customers must have existing Internet access. Phone Techs
Telephony Protocols: SIP/H.323 and Skype
Phone techs that like VoIP uses two telephony protocols for handling connections (see SIP and H.323), and most VoIP systems support both. Skype uses its own protocol (see Skype).
Phone techs install Regular phones can be used with many VoIP services by plugging them into an analog telephone adapter (ATA) from the VoIP provider or third party. The ATA converts the phone signals to IP packets. Native IP phones are also available.
Software Only = Softphone
VoIP may be entirely software based, which uses an app in a mobile device or a computer equipped with microphone and speakers. Typically free if both sides are on devices; calls to a regular telephone are per minute. In 1995, VocalTec Communications introduced the first VoIP service in the U.S.; entirely software based (see softphone). Skype is a very popular softphone-based VoIP service (see Skype). See SIP provider.
Voicemail, caller ID, call forwarding and a softphone option (if not a softphone-only service) are typically part of a VoIP package. Phone numbers with area codes outside of one’s own home area may also be an option (see virtual phone number). See IP telephony for more details and history of the technology. Phone techs.
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Virtual Phone Systems
- Virtual phone systems work by connecting a business phone line to remote workers on their cellphones or home phones.
- These types of systems work as an extensive call-forwarding solution, wherein calls are transferred to each employee’s designated phone (cell or home) when a customer or client calls the main business number. phone techs
- These systems include a variety of features, such as automated receptionists, voicemail, call forwarding, call screening and online faxing.
VoIP Phone Systems
- Rather than using the traditional copper wires that landlines employ, VoIP phone systems use the same Internet connection that a company is already using to get online. phone techs
- VoIP systems provide features that previously only large corporations using expensive PBX hardware had access to, such as automated attendants, call queues and computer integration that allows voicemails to be sent to email inboxes and laptops, or desktop computers to be turned into “softphones.”
- VoIP systems provide mobile options that give remote workers access to a business’s phone system from their mobile device.