What is VOIP? This article will attempt to answer this question by describing some of the key features that distinguish VOIP from regular telephony.
Voice over IP, or IP telephony, is an innovative method and network of technology
for the transmission of voice communication and multimedia sessions via Internet Protocol networks, including the Internet itself. The concept is simple: A user connects to the internet and uses a dedicated IP telephony number, which can be accessed through a dedicated phone service. There are two different types of IP telephony service providers, namely public switched telephone networks (PSTN), and private switched telephone networks (PSCN).
By connecting the user directly to the PSTN network via the internet, a user can make VOIP calls using their regular telephone number and enjoy an IP-based telephone service rather than a conventional PBX system. Public and private switched telephone networks allow users to place and receive calls over the internet using a dedicated IP address and a virtual IP phone number.
The advantage of a VOIP call over a conventional PSTN or PBX phone system is the lower cost of maintaining the phone system. An IP-based phone service is not managed by the telecom operators, so its maintenance costs are considerably cheaper. It is also considerably faster, as compared to a PSTN or PBX phone system.
The biggest advantage of VOIP over conventional telephony is that it does not require any infrastructure that can be accessed by the telephone network. A private telephone network is required in order to transmit calls, as well as a set of proprietary hardware, software, routing, and other network related parameters.
The other major difference between VOIP and traditional telephony is that there is no common carrier required,
so no long distance charges or surcharges are charged when making calls from VOIP to another country. Therefore, a VOIP call makes a huge financial saving for a company or individual.
A major disadvantage of VOIP is that it has a significantly lower volume of call compared to a regular PBX phone system. However, the level of volume is still much higher than that of the public switched telephone network. This may not be a problem if the company is not providing an inbound/outbound call option to the VOIP users.
Some disadvantages of VOIP include that it is not allowed in some countries or areas and therefore cannot be used by residents of such countries as Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Venezuela. Also, the high cost of equipment may restrict its widespread adoption by consumers in developed countries like the US, UK, and other Western European nations.
- One of the major benefits of VOIP is that it allows customers to make international calls.
- With reduced international call rates compared to a normal PSTN or PBX phone system.
- As compared to the latter, the international call rates of VOIP are significantly lower.
A major benefit of VOIP is that it eliminates the need for physical exchange of information that is required for all international telephone calls. The main purpose of using a regular telephone network is to exchange information between people for a long distance call.
Although it is possible to get Internet telephony services from companies like Skype or Vonage, it is only available for selected phone services like Skype, T1, Vonage, etc. and not for general Internet telephony.
There are some limitations with VOIP, such as limited calling features, no caller ID or caller identification, and sometimes no international calling feature. However, for business or personal use, it remains one of the most popular ways of making telephone calls around the world.