Last week, we touched on some of the technological advances that have allowed VoIP telephony to surpass the PSTN in both quality and reliability.
Yet, even though VoIP has been around for two decades, there are still some misconceptions about what it really is. A lot of people think of VoIP as a technology that allows placing phone calls over the internet. Although this is true, such a narrow definition encompasses only a fraction of the functionality of VoIP.
The unfortunate consequence of this misperception is that VoIP is often associated with low quality and best-effort services that offer low cost or free voice calls over the internet. Those familiar with these services have experienced the frequent disconnects, jitter and stuttering on the line characteristic of this type of service. As a result, VoIP has erroneously been associated with an unreliable user experience.
The truth is, VoIP is much more (and better) than just voice over the internet.
Voice over internet protocol, as its name suggests, is a technology that allows for the digitization and packetization of analog voice signals in a format that can be transmitted over an IP network. There are four types of IP networks on which VoIP operates. One is the internet, which is its least functional use case. The more significant ones for private and enterprise users are customer premises networks, SIP trunks, and mobile networks.
Customer premises networks
Enterprises and organizations worldwide have private IP networks in their buildings and branch offices to connect their employees with internal network services. Many universities and public sector organizations maintain geographically extensive private IP networks for interconnecting and providing network services to their locations. All these networks, which are also called LANs (local area networks) and WANs (wide area networks), depending on their geographic reach, comprise infrastructure over which VoIP can operate. Although most of these networks do connect to the public internet, their infrastructure is managed privately and thus they function in a very controlled environment.
Because VoIP shares the same infrastructure as data networks, it can be implemented wherever the organization’s private IP network is available. An IP PBX can be installed at the core of the network and IP phones can be physically located anywhere on the network topography. This makes VoIP telephony more scalable and flexible than a legacy TDN PBX used for analog telephony.
The other domain in which VoIP operates is on the telecom service provider side (telcos or network operators). This is very different from the best-effort voice services described earlier. A toll-grade VoIP telephony provider provides packetized voice services over a controlled network, not over the public internet. This is in the form of what are called Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunks. SIP trunks deliver VoIP in conjunction with Quality of Service (QoS) mechanisms that ensure the voice packets arrive at their destination in a timely and orderly manner, thus maintaining the voice quality that users have come to expect. The counterpart of this network in traditional telephony is the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) or an ISDN PRI voice circuit.
Mobile telephony networks are a special case of networks that provide both voice and data from end to end. In other words, these networks don’t have a natural demarcation point that separates the customer premises from the operator’s network; the network instead extends to the handset itself.
Mobile operators, too, offer a privately controlled and managed network environment on which VoIP services can be successfully deployed. In the case of mobile, voice is most often carried using the GSM standard, which uses Time Division Multiplexing to digitize voice (similar to an ISDN voice channel), or the CDMA standard, which uses Code Division Multiplexing to digitize voice. However, some mobile telephony operators do instead use VoIP to transmit voice to their subscribers.
Another way that VoIP can be used to transmit voice over a mobile network is via OTT (over the top) applications (think Skype, WhatsApp, etc.) that send voice as data packets. However, because this type of data travels part of the way over the internet, the quality is not as reliable.
Much more than merely allowing users to place phone calls over the internet, VoIP is a technology that provides a high-quality, flexible and easily scalable internal telephony infrastructure within the domain of private IP networks, as well as reliable and low-cost routing of voice calls worldwide.
Like many IT specialists in the education field, Arapahoe Charter School‘s (ACS) network administrator Mark Prescott planned to spend the recent Spring Break taking care of some routine maintenance tasks, and enjoying a well-deserved breather after a busy semester. However, when his school’s on-site private branch exchange (PBX) suddenly went down, he was forced into action and made a quick-thinking decision that turned a potential nightmare into a triumphant success story: he called VoIP solutions provider Carolina Digital.
To Mark’s amazement, that same afternoon Carolina Digital’s CEO Nicky Smith arrived with a team of experts who rapidly integrated the necessary SIP trunks, which linked the school’s communication server with its Internet telephone service provider (ITSP).
The end result was that instead of being off-the-grid for what could have been weeks — which would have been unacceptable to staff and parents alike — ACS’s telecommunication system was back online and, what’s more, much improved and primed for the school’s next phase of its infrastructure development plan. popular pills online comprar cialis spain
“We had already planned on switching our telecommunications from a landline system to a VoIP system, and the work that Carolina Digital did actually ended up moving us significantly forward towards that goal,” commented Mark Prescott. “Nicky and his team achieved in one day what I expected would take two weeks. They were extremely responsive, professional, and truly understood that telecommunications in a school setting isn’t just about the technology and hardware, but it’s also about security, safety and meeting standards. The experience was better than I could have possibly imagined. Carolina Digital literally saved Spring Break for us!”
“We pride ourselves on being responsive and always putting our customers first, without compromise,” commented Nicky Smith, whose company is a leading provider of USAC Category 1 eligible hosted telecommunications for K-12 schools in the Southeast United States. “Mark is an innovator, and on the leading edge of educational technology. He championed VoIP in his school because he knows how it empowers staff, supports parents, and helps drive overall student engagement and success. It was a pleasure to be there for him and his team at ACS when they needed us the most.”
For additional information regarding Carolina Digital, visit https://carolinadigital.net or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Carolina Digital
Carolina Digital is a pioneer of hosted phone services, and provides products that improve the capabilities of business and education telephony, while reducing their overall cost. The company’s offerings stand out for their excellent value, including very competitive pricing, the industry’s deepest feature set, ease of deployment, and many user-friendly packages – from a full turnkey set-up including dial tone and VoIP phones, to automated call answering and routing solutions that work with existing land lines, cell phones or VoIP phones.
Since Alexander Graham Bell invented it into existence, reliable phone service has played a vital role in keeping businesses up and running. That telephone on the desk makes it possible to take orders, obtain supplies and keep in touch with customers. Let’s face it: If your phone system should ever fail, you might as well lock up and go home. There’s only one problem. Unless you’ve upgraded to hosted Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, you’re spending far more than you should on your telephone service.
How Your Telephone System Affects Your Bottom Line: Some fail to realize the expense of using so-called plain old telephone services. Traditional POTS systems rely on analog technology to transmit data through electronic frequencies. While this methodology is cheap and simple to transmit over short distances, voice quality fades in a hurry when vast expanses come into play. To overcome this inherent defect, old-fashioned telephone services rely on a public switched telephone network, or PSTN, to transfer calls incrementally between locations through a grid of cables, satellites, switchboards and telephone lines. Each such transfer adds to the cost, sending long-distance rates that much higher with each additional mile. For this reason, POTS systems normally charge by the call. With hosted services, on the other hand, it’s a different story.
The Benefits of VoIP for Business: Instead of paying by the call, the business that switches to hosted PBX and VoIP services will incur just a moderate monthly fee with unlimited calls allowed and no extra charge for long distance. That’s because these services utilize a broadband Internet connection to transmit data digitally from the point of origin to the telephone exchange that’s closest to the final destination.
- Reliable. Regardless of external influences, round-the-clock monitored maintenance will keep your system up and running.
- Scalable. Your hosted service can expand or contract to match the changing needs of your business.
- Versatile. No antiquated POTS system can provide the advanced features you’ll get from an Internet-based service.
- Mobile. Users of hosted PBX and hosted VoIP can make and receive calls through a laptop or forward incoming communications to a mobile phone.
- User-friendly. The Web-based interface is intuitive and simple to use
If you’re still running with your business on outdated analog telephone services, it’s time to ask yourself why. For service on which you can always rely at a price that will make you smile, hosted PBX and VoIP are the only way to go. Once you’ve enjoyed the benefits of VoIP for business, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to switch. When considering Hosted VoIP for your business telephone system call the experts at Carolina Digital Phone at (336) 691-2000.
About the Author: Nicky Smith – For the past 30+ years, computers, advanced technology and solving problems with this new technology have been his business. In 1978, he graduated from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC with the first graduating class in the 16 North Carolina Universities with an Information Systems degree from the College of Business. For the last 15 years Nicky has served as the visionary leader and CEO of CAROLINANET.COM, a web hosting and server colocation data center and since 2004 the CEO of Carolina Digital Phone offering hosted telephone services and SIP Trunking. Read more at his LinkedIN page http://www.linkedin.com/in/nickysmith