If you’re considering changing or updating your business phone system, you won’t have failed to notice that there’s a new kid on the block ,in the shape of IP-based systems.
In fact, VoIP isn’t all that new. The technology has been around since the mid-1990s, but it has recently taken off due to the wider availability of fast, reliable fibre internet connections. These mean that IP-based systems can now offer a quality of service equivalent to traditional PSTN systems.
What is it?
Okay, let’s start with the basics. IP telephony or voice over IP, involves splitting voice traffic up into data packets that can be transmitted over the internet. If you’ve ever chatted to someone on Skype, you have used VoIP.
This has a number of advantages. A service provided by a wholesale VoIP termination provider, such as https://www.idtexpress.com/, avoids the bottlenecks you may experience with a PSTN system. Traditionally, PABXs have been served by ISDN lines, which are expensive and you have to buy a fixed number of lines as a bundle.
An IP system is much more flexible. The number of lines can be easily expanded to take up extra traffic at times of peak business need. Because calls are routed via the internet, it’s also cheaper, as they can find the most efficient route to their destination rather than relying on fixed links.
The big question for companies when considering VoIP is will they need to replace their existing phone technology. IP-based systems use a technology called Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) in order to interface with the older PSTN telephone network. This means making and receiving calls from ‘ordinary’ phones is no problem. In fact, in the UK, the whole telephone network is set to switch to IP by 2025.
Many modern PABXs are already SIP compatible, so you may not need to change your hardware in order to move over to an IP-based system. If you do need to replace older hardware, then you have the option of moving to a cloud PABX system. You will also need handsets capable of handling IP calls – again, if your existing PABX is compatible, this isn’t an issue. You also have the option of making calls via a computer or mobile device using appropriate software that lets you access the VoIP host.