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How Does VoIP Work?

CCi Voice delivers a guide to Voice over Internet Protocol and how it helps communications.
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Relationships fall apart without communication! 

No, this isn’t a marriage counseling blog or a guide related to good parenting. Instead, we’re here to talk about Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Basically, we want to define this communication tool for you and explain how it can be applied to your business, school, nonprofit, enterprise, or municipality. 

Crystal clear communication is at the heart of all relationships. Strong communication with employees, vendors, clients, partners, and customers is the hallmark of any successful venture. Communication is the foundation of everything we do to “move the needle” and make a positive impact on our bottom line, as well as in the lives of the people we serve. 

There’s so much technology out there that claims to make communication more reliable and easier for businesses and organizations. It can be so incredibly overwhelming that you might be fooled into thinking that sticking with the old fashioned landline phone service is your best option. 

But as the world seems to teach us on a daily basis, an over reliance on outdated technology can leave you ill-prepared to face surprising challenges. For example, small and medium-sized businesses learned a hard lesson at the onset of the COVID-19 quarantine: that in order to stay in business and remain competitive, they needed to use the same tools as larger enterprises. This means transitioning to software-based technology that exists in the cloud, over the internet. 

One of those cloud-based technologies is VoIP—a surprisingly cost-effective communication solution that can transform your day-to-day operations. 

What Is VoIP?

Rather than routing calls through a traditional circuit-switched telephone network, VoIP ferries high-quality voice calls over the internet. For the user, it’s exactly like using a typical phone service to make and receive calls. 

It’s a synthesis of the modern and the familiar, making the transition from traditional phone service to VoIP free of hassle and stress. What’s more, the familiarity means that you don’t need extensive training to grasp the functionality of VoIP and there is no need for constant troubleshooting. Also, as it exists in the cloud, users have access to advanced communications features that can improve performance. 

VoIP calls can be placed using a variety of devices. IP Phones look like traditional telephones, plugging into a jack in your wall using an ethernet (computer) cable. You can also use your PC or Mac to make phone calls by downloading a software application provided by the phone service provider. There are also gateways or adapters (analog terminal adapters) that make it possible to make phone calls using traditional analog telephones and fax machines. This is a hybrid solution of sorts when you need to integrate older equipment with newer.

Different Types of VoIP Solutions

When people talk about VoIP service they are typically referring to hosting a phone system in the cloud. 

But It's also possible to have a traditional phone system in your IT closet and also use VoIP.  SIP trunks (Session Initiated Protocol) can deliver phone service to your onsite phone system. Interestingly, SIP trunks are exactly what are used to deliver phone service to cloud based systems. The only difference is where the phone server is sitting. Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Trunks are the IP equivalent of analog phone lines but there are no physical lines at all.  Typically, a SIP trunk is one concurrent call. 

A VoIP Private Branch Exchange (PBX) manages telephone networks via a data network. This network can be on-premise, cloud hosted, or a hybrid of the two. An on-premise PBX—sometimes called Managed PBX—is hardware stored on site at a business, school, etc. Meanwhile, a Hosted PBX is a server in a data center or “cloud,” which shifts the responsibility of software upgrades, maintenance, security and redundancy to the company hosting the service, which can greatly decrease software upgrades and maintenance costs. 

The Benefits of VoIP

Operating a small business, school or nonprofit institution often means managing limited resources. So, when money is being spent on technology, you have to ensure you're getting the most out of your investment. For what it’s worth, we believe that’s precisely what makes VoIP ideal for most organizations. 

More than merely improving communication—which it does—VoIP also conjures up benefits in many other aspects of daily operations.

It’s Cost Effective. VoIP gives you the power to leverage the internet service you’re already paying for. Why pay for a separate phone service when you can integrate your communications into a pre-existing network? You’ll also take advantage of low setup fees, low maintenance costs, and reasonable call charges. A VoIP solution also simplifies your bills and plans, consolidating it all into one efficient package. 

It’s Reliable & High Quality. Paired with a reliable network, VoIP produces outstanding call quality as compared to traditional landline service.  What’s more, the best VoIP solutions help you to maintain business continuity during a power outage. If your phone system is in the cloud it will not be impacted by power or internet loss at your office. The system can either be programmed to forward calls to user cell phones or callers can leave a voicemail message that users will receive via email on a smartphone. Many times, callers are unaware there was ever an outage.

It’s Flexible. As stated earlier, we all learned quite the lesson about the value of flexibility in 2020. We’ve all heard some variation of “you never know what might happen,” but perhaps at no point was that old adage more true than in March of 2020. Since VoIP is cloud based, it allows you to integrate all of your critical communications tools, including calls, video conferencing, voicemail, collaboration tools, and more. It all comes together to help you stay connected, even when unexpectedly working remotely. 

It’s Scalable. If you expect your organization or institution to have a future, then you need scalable options. With VoIP, it’s incredibly easy to add, subtract, or move phones to new locations without the hassle or elbow grease involved with reprogramming or installing new lines or equipment. Your circumstances change—and your phone system should be ready to change along with you. 

It’s Rich with Customer Service Tools. A VoIP solution provides your organization with tools often reserved for larger businesses. Flexible incoming call programming, interactive voice response (IVR), voicemail to email, call forwarding, and built-in conference bridges are just a few VoIP tools that can breathe life into the operations of your business.

Takeaway

Communication technology exists in a constant state of flux and all organizations—from small businesses to schools to large corporations to nonprofit organizations and beyond—need to stay on top of that ever-shifting landscape. VoIP is simply the future of communications.

Contact CCi Voice Today and Learn How VoIP Can Transform Your Communications System!

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