Standing for Voice over Internet Protocol, VoIP basically enables users to make and receive phone calls over the internet, using a broadband connection, rather than by using a traditional phone line. Technically, VoIP converts voice into data so that communications can be routed over the internet.
These data “packets” are transmitted either through the public internet connection, or through a private IP network. These data packets can be converted back to analogue signals in order to reach a correspondent using a traditional telephone line.
It should be noted that computers are not necessarily needed to use VoIP, as VoIP-enabled specific phones can be directly connected to the broadband router to use the service. Traditional phones connected to adapters can also be used. But of course, users who prefer softphones, which are programs turning computers into phones, will need a computer.
Voice over IP should not be confused with unified communications. The latter involves advanced media blending capabilities, such as conferencing with voice, data, video combined and desktop sharing, and call-centre specific features such as “presence”, which allows users to instantly know whether any of his co-workers in the same network is available.
Benefits of VoIP include:
- Significant savings over traditional plain old telephone system communications, especially for long distance calls,
- Conference calls with video and collaboration tools,
- Roaming to any location where the user can be connected to the internet, without having to change the phone number.
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