You may have heard the term “VoIP Telephony”, but you’re not quite sure what it means. You understand that it has something to do with your phone system and the Internet, but beyond that you’re into an area that you don’t understand at all. The purpose of this article is to give an overview of VoIP Telephony so that those who aren’t familiar with it will have a basic understanding of it.
Sometimes simply referred to as Voice over IP (VoIP) or a converged voice/data network, VoIP Telephony is an increasingly popular way to provide telephone services in the business world. Traditionally, companies have had separate infrastructures for their data and communications. As the “converged” portion of converged voice/data network implies, VoIP Telephony brings together voice and data into one network. It is a method for taking the analog audio signals that you hear when you talk on the phone and converting them into digital data that can be transmitted over the Internet.
Existing phone systems are driven by a method that has been in use for more than 100 years called circuit switching. When you place a phone call to another party, the call is routed through a switch at your local carrier to the number you are calling. When the person on the other end answers the phone, a connection is made and the circuit is complete. It remains open the whole time the calls is taking place, and then closes when you hang up your phone.
VoIP Telephony works in a much different fashion. While the traditional circuit switched call stays open the entire time and transfers everything (including dead air intervals), VoIP Telephony uses packet switching to pass information from one caller to another. Packet switching is used by data networks for communication. Only data, broken down into small packets and with an address for the network device where it will be sent, is transferred. Instead of transferring the data over one open connection between the two devices, it flows through a network taking any one of thousands of possible paths. The result is a method that is much more efficient than circuit switching. Only true data (voice, not dead air) is transferred, and a dedicated circuit is not required.
Because VoIP Telephony uses the packet switching currently used by today’s network, it can essentially be plugged into an existing network and put to use with relatively little pain. For many companies, that means there is no longer a need to maintain both the data and voice infrastructures. The data infrastructure can handle all of the Internet and local traffic as well as the data from VoIP Telephony.
Because of VoIP Telephony makes use of the more efficient packet switching and data networks, placing calls with VoIP Telephony is less expensive than using the traditional phone company. Moving to VoIP Telephony can result in significant savings for a business when making calls, especially in regards to long distance charges.
This article has only touched on the basics of VoIP Telephony and given a very easy, abbreviated overview of it. A lot of information on VoIP Telephony exists on the Internet. Interested readers should do additional research to learn more about the product and what benefits it can bring if implemented at their business.
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