Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), is a collection of technologies that allow people to communicate (voice, fax, SMS, voice-messaging) over the internet rather than through the dedicated public switched telephone network (PSTN), and is the direction in which all communication is travelling.
The phoneline and phones in many people’s homes and businesses continue to use the similar technologies to those available a century ago, with analogue audio sent along a copper wire and only digitised about the phone company’s digital concentrator at the end of the road. However, we live in a digital world where MP3s and not vinyl records are the most common way to listen to music – and a person’s voice is just another signal that can be digitised and transferred like any other packet of data via the internet.
Skype, which is now owned by Microsoft, is probably the best known provider of VoIP services, with many people around the world seeing the benefits of being able to talk with their friends and family in foreign countries without needing to pay exorbitant international calling rates – BT still charging over £1 per minute to call various countries around the world!
However, VoIP offers more than just cheaper calling rates as it also means that for companies where more than one phone is needed, all communications systems can be brought into a single service, simplifying both the billing process and support needs.
VoIP providers in the UK like NT Cloud Solutions bring everything under one roof, where organisations pay a single company to host and support their telephony services, with all calls travelling through the same single cable to the internet.
Large companies used to need dozens of ISDN cables running into their offices to provide connectivity to every desk, and adding a person meant needing a new line put in. However, VoIP gives the flexibility that adding new users to the network is now as simple as a few clicks, with no extra expense.
Phone calls are data just like emails, web browsing, uploading code to Github, and watching YouTube, and it’s about time everyone unified them all to travel along the same cables.
Photograph by Roland Tanglao