The Rise of Internet Telephony VoIP


What is VoIP?

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the technology that allows us to make calls using the internet instead of traditional landlines. Whether you're using VoIP or analog, the call experience remains quite similar with just an earpiece and microphone. However, as Openreach plans to phase out the PSTN landline network throughout 2025, only VoIP will remain functional.

We're committed to ensuring you can maintain seamless business communications after the Big Switch Off. Therefore, embracing VoIP telephony is essential. Rest assured, this transition offers several benefits. Firstly, it enhances call quality and is a familiar technology. If you've ever used Facetime, Skype, Zoom, or Teams for calls with friends, family, or colleagues, you've already experienced VoIP in action.

When Was the First VoIP Call Made?

The early stages of innovation date back 50 years, yet the first VoIP software became accessible in 1995 through a company named VoiceTec. However, initial adoption was constrained due to the expensive equipment required and the sluggishness of broadband connections at the time. Nevertheless, this marked the beginning of a new era in communication methods.

By the 2000s, leading tech companies were supplying affordable devices and VoIP calling services. VoIP became increasingly accessible. Today, thanks to robust and widespread broadband networks, most individuals have likely utilized VoIP in some form, even if they weren't consciously aware of it!

How Does VoIP Work?

In essence, VoIP operates by transforming your spoken words into a compressed, digital format. This data is then transmitted over the internet to the recipient, where it's reconverted into audible sounds. This stands in contrast to PSTN, where the voice is carried by the analogue electrical signal itself.

Here's a slightly more technical breakdown:

  • Your phone or device links up with your router in your Local Area Network (LAN).
  • Upon selecting the recipient, your phone notifies your VoIP provider to establish a connection.
  • Once the connection is established, compressed 'data packets' are exchanged.
  • Your VoIP phone then converts this data back into sound, allowing you to hear your contact.

This entire process occurs in a split second, enabling seamless conversations with individuals both near and far. It's truly remarkable when you pause to consider it!

Why is VoIP Popular?

VoIP is favored for several reasons:

  • Ensures consistently high-quality calls.
  • Requires minimal setup equipment for SMEs. Typically, all you need is a subscription with a business VoIP provider, along with a phone, mobile, or laptop for calls, a router, and a broadband connection. While headsets are optional, they're recommended for efficient call handling.
  • Reduces overall operating costs by utilizing existing internet devices and services instead of expensive, maintenance-heavy analog hardware. This results in decreased call charges, a major incentive for both operators and consumers.
  • Offers a plethora of features.
  • Allows for calls beyond the typical 1:1 or three-way setup. This means individuals from various locations can join the conversation, a particularly valuable asset in today's era of remote work.

Thus, VoIP communication technology stands out for its reliability, affordability, and adaptability. If you haven't already embraced it, there's no better time than now to do so.

What are the Disadvantages of VoIP?

The primary drawback of VoIP is its inability to function during a power outage. For individuals working from remote locations with unreliable broadband connections, this presents a significant challenge. However, having backup power sources can mitigate this issue effectively.

Another notable concern revolves around making emergency calls via VoIP services. Historically, some providers have struggled with this capability. However, regulatory bodies like Ofcom are actively addressing this issue, especially with the phasing out of traditional landlines.

Furthermore, transitioning to VoIP may impact analogue devices connected to your landline, such as alarms. However, this issue can typically be resolved by using an Analogue Telephone Adapter (ATA).

If you're worried about the continued operation of analogue devices or unsure about your broadband connection's suitability for VoIP, we're here to help. Our team can offer advice on the most appropriate solutions and provide guidance on assessing your broadband's speed, stability, and bandwidth for supporting VoIP technology.

Is VoIP Secure?

When considering the security of transmitting communications over the internet, it's natural to have reservations. This is indeed an important factor to weigh.

The level of security largely hinges on your VoIP provider and the cybersecurity measures you have in place. Internet communications are vulnerable to hackers who can exploit them for various nefarious purposes, including extracting information, disrupting call services, eavesdropping, or spreading malware.

To mitigate these risks, it's crucial to opt for a VoIP provider that prioritizes encryption measures. Some providers offer a comprehensive suite of protection features. For instance, our partnership with Firstcom Europe was influenced significantly by their robust commitment to call security.

Additionally, you can further enhance security by:

  • Utilizing an encrypted Wi-Fi network.
  • Incorporating VoIP technology into your Firewall protection.
  • Choosing password access when configuring VoIP.
  • Considering two-step authentication, particularly in industries handling highly sensitive information.
  • Strategically planning the secure setup of remote users.

These measures collectively bolster the security of your VoIP communications, providing greater peace of mind in an increasingly interconnected digital landscape.

Is VoIP the Future of Communications?

Whether you embraced it early on or feel compelled to switch before landlines become obsolete, VoIP represents the future of communication.

With the advent of 5G and its integration with emerging technologies, the reliability, security, and capabilities of VoIP communication are poised for further expansion. This evolution promises to enhance call handling efficiency and cater to the evolving needs of businesses.

If you have inquiries regarding VoIP telephony for businesses in Oxfordshire or Teams integration, feel free to reach out at 0333 101 7300.

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