What You Should know About VoIP

Section Content

The Basics of VoIP (This page)

VoIP Myths and Reality Checks

The Promise of VoIP

Related Reading Material

Teleconvergence VoIP Services

We provide two very different VoIP-oriented consulting services:

  1. System change and the (potential) role of VoIP in an end-user's operating environment. (this section)
  2. VoIP Business Opportunity Development

VoIP Basics

VOiP (Voice-Over-Internet-Protocol) refers to a way of transmitting voice over the Internet whereby conversations (called "sessions") are derived from Internet bandwidth as opposed to being carried over individual circuits (trunks) or derived circuits (T1 channels). There are further differences, especially regarding  the SIP protocol, but you can read about them in Wikipedia and elsewhere, and they aren't really relevant to this discussion.

Since VoIP is a technology, it can be used for many applications: a telephone system; a public, private, local, or long distance network; to save money on long distance or international calls; to connect multiple physical locations or to extend one's presence to virtual locations; to reduce operating costs or to enhance operating capabilities, etc.

While there is much in the technology that is new, there is very little it can do that hasn't been possible for quite some time using older technology, currently quaintly derided as "Legacy." (We'll discuss that a little later).

Before going into alternative VoIP system or IP-PBX scenarios, here are some working definitions of the relevant terms. Any PBX or Pabx is a telephone system with an attendant (live or automated), a central system (real or virtual), and numbered extensions associated with individual users. A Pabx that uses VoIP is frequently called an IP-PBX.

These systems can be housed on your premises or they can be shared remotely by tens or hundreds or even thousands of companies, in which case they are called hosted systems or cloud systems. Sometimes, but not always, they are both. They range in price from free Open Source software  to proprietary hardware and software costing thousands to millions of dollars.

Note: Since VoIP is simply a technology used in telecom systems, it is treated merely as one system alternative among many in the previous article in this series, Your Real Telecom Options

So, where next? We suggest the next article in the series, VoIP Myths and Reality Checks.