Many companies use the telephone primarily as a means of communication with business partners. But in order to reduce business costs, cheaper communication technologies that use the Internet - have begun to develop. This integration of telephone and internet communication enables us to communicate by voice over the Internet protocol. But, what exactly is VoIP?
Until the end of the 90s, the IT network (PCs, printers, etc.) in companies was a separate network from the telephone network. The sockets were different, the cable network was doubled, in short... the costs were high and often managed by two separate teams. The early 2000s saw the boom of the internet and its communication protocol "IP" (Internet Protocol) which defines the way data is transported. This was also the era of “convergence", where the electrical signal from telephones is transformed into a computer signal and shares the same cable network as the computer network. This is what is known as "voice over IP" or "VoIP"."
What is VoIP ?
Voice over Internet Protocol (also known as VoIP, IP Telephony, Internet telephony, Broadband telephony, Broadband Phone, and Voice over Broadband) is a way of transmitting voice over an IP-based network.
VoIP converts an analog telephone signal into a digital signal. If a fixed line is called, the signal is converted back to analog when received. The quality of the connection depends on the speed of the Internet connection and the software that the user has.
Today, telephone networks are on a migratory path to VoIP. The VoIP system applies packet switching networking, where the voice signal is digitized, compressed, and packetized. Such a compressed digital message does not require a voice channel. Instead, the message can be sent over the same data lines used for the Intranet or the Internet, and the default channel is no longer needed.
Internet telephony offers many significant advantages over standard telephony:
- The number of calls per line is not limited
- It allows the application of advanced functions that cannot be used with traditional telephone exchanges or are charged extra by operators. Some of them are: printing the number of callers, call waiting, call forwarding, automatic call forwarding, conference calls, forwarding voice messages to email…
- Independence from the telephone network, only Internet access, and appropriate software or applications are sufficient
- Uses existing network infrastructure and allows data, video, and voice communication to be integrated into one service
- Integration with other Internet features (video conferencing, exchange of any data)
But there are also downsides:
- VoIP depends on the Internet and connection speed
- VoIP depends on the system/application you are using even though they are more or less available 99 percent of the time
- VoIP communication poses multiple serious security flaws, including eavesdropping, call interception, piracy and VoIP toll fraud
VoIP systems are not yet fully standardized leading to quality problems
The future of VoIP
The abundance and diversity of VoIP usage give a bright future especially among the company’s remote branches that are connected to the internet. Savings on calls are very pronounced. To avoid additional costs, many companies and corporations also set up their own access points. For many companies, VoIP is an easy and inexpensive upgrade to the web, email, Instant Messaging, and video conferencing over the Internet.
As the number of VoIP telephony users increases, and existing PSTN network users are also increasingly migrating towards VoIP, in many countries legislation is trying to regulate this new way of communicating. In the European Union, there is currently no single regulation (in the making) and legislation on VoIP, but this way of communication is the responsibility of individual national telecommunication regulators, who are still mainly assessing the strength of the new market.
The Belgian expert in SIP and VoIP, Be IP, has developed GOSIP, a PBX used by over 40.000 users around the world. GOSIP is an IP Telephony, Unified Communications and Collaboration solution which is based on open standards and comes with a full-featured WebRTC client which can be deployed on-premise and in the cloud. Be IP has also developed a session border controller called Rostom, a flexible, intuitive, and safe VoIP solution for small and medium enterprises which gives you excellent communication quality and ironclad security without sacrificing flexibility and capacity.