Business technology is constantly evolving. Modern, cloud-based calling options, for example, are increasingly popular among businesses in recent years due to their ability to support a changing workplace. One of these prominent is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). In fact, experts estimate the worldwide VoIP market will reach $55 billion by 2025.
With all the existing cloud options, it’s understandable to be confused and wonder where VoIP fits in. To help mitigate confusion, we have put together a list of 10 frequently asked questions that the industry and potential customers have about VoIP systems.
What Does VoIP Stand For?
How Does VoIP Work?
Is VoIP Secure?
What Capabilities Does Business VoIP Enable?
Is VoIP Easy to Use?
What Equipment is Required to use VoIP?
How Much Does VoIP Cost?
Is VoIP Reliable?
Does VoIP Work Without Internet?
What is E911?
1: What Does VoIP Stand For?
VoIP is short for Voice over Internet Protocol. VoIP refers to the transmission of voice and multimedia content over an internet connection. The technology delivers key benefits to businesses such as cost savings, scalability, flexibility, clear audio, and simple provisioning.
2: How Does VoIP Work?
At a high level, VoIP uses the internet to make phone calls. More specifically, VoIP technology enables traditional telephony services to transmit voice over computer networks instead of a telephone company's wiring. VoIP takes voice signals and puts them into “packets,” similar to an electronic envelope, allowing the VoIP service provider to send that packet over any VoIP-compatible network, such as a local area network (LAN). VoIP then opens the packet and delivers the audio to the receiver at the other end.
3: Is VoIP Secure?
Businesses can safeguard VoIP using some basic cybersecurity methods and best practices. Because VoIP calls are transmitted over the internet, cyber criminals can hack the call if the internet is left unsecured. Bad actors can intercept VoIP calls, and in some cases, use them as an access portal into servers. One way to be confident about the security of your VoIP calling is to rely on encryption.
VoIP call encryption uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Real-time Transport Protocol (SRTP). These VoIP protocols work together to establish high-grade security in every call and allow for IT teams to monitor traffic patterns to detect anomalies. Intrado uses encryption techniques to protect customer information transmitted over the Intrado network.
4: What Capabilities Does Business VoIP Enable?
VoIP is a useful technology for businesses because it typically includes features that can't be found on common phone services. While deployments will vary based on the business, many VoIP business systems will support the following capabilities:
- Automated attendants
- Menus and directories
- Voicemail-to-email transcriptions
- Call forwarding, transferring and recording
- Call analytics
- Automatic call distribution
- Internet (or T-38) faxing
- Text messaging and chat capabilities
- Conference calling
- Video conferencing
5: Is VoIP Easy to Use?
Though modern and feature-rich, VoIP telephones function much the same way as an old fashioned handset phone. Users can partner with a provider to configure the VoIP settings to meet their unique needs. To help with the transition to VoIP phone systems, Intrado provides training, number porting, provisioning, and assistance.
6: What Equipment is Required to Use VoIP?
For a VoIP phone system to work, businesses must have a modem and router, typically part of the organization’s existing internet setup. Users can make calls from any device that has the call software downloaded, including smartphones, laptops, desktop phones, or VoIP phones. Employees can call from anywhere they have an internet connection, which enables remote teams to stay productive and connected no matter where they are.
7: How Much Does VoIP Cost?
Internet-based telephone systems are almost always cost-effective alternatives to conventional landlines. VoIP providers offer various plan options that are configurable for small businesses or large enterprises. Most providers also offer unlimited domestic calling, which may include Canada, Mexico, or Puerto Rico, and companies can select services with free global calling plans. Additionally, there are no VoIP setup fees, and it’s easy to set up a VoIP system. Cloud-based calling solutions such as VoIP also help businesses save money by eliminating the costs associated with maintenance of traditional telephony
8: Is VoIP Reliable?
A persistent myth surrounding VoIP is that, because it relies on internet connections, the voice quality suffers or is unreliable. The myth likely arose during the early days of VoIP when networks were less sophisticated. Thankfully, networks have come a long way since then.
Intrado uses market-leading infrastructure and partners with local providers in select markets to ensure that customers get excellent call quality on every call. Our system delivers optimal call quality without dropped calls or downtime. Intrado delivers carrier-grade calling options to customers through our OnSIP and Flowroute solutions.
9: Does VoIP Work Without the Internet?
The internet is foundational to placing and receiving VoIP calls. In most cases, businesses will not be able to connect calls if there’s no internet. During an internet outage, the router will not be able to function, which means there will be no internet access. The only exception to this is if an organization has a backup internet source that could maintain call connectivity.
In the event of an internet outage, companies can instruct their VoIP provider to forward calls to designated cell phones or direct them to voicemail. Intrado can help customers set up the right emergency protocols to minimize downtime and ensure business communications can continue.
10: What is E911?
E911 (Enhanced 911) is a service that automatically displays the telephone number and physical location of a 911 caller on the emergency operator’s screen. Basic 911 services require the caller to tell the operator where they are, potentially delaying response times. E911 is critical in circumstances where the caller cannot communicate their whereabouts or in situations when the operator cannot hear the caller. The details provided by E911 ensures the dispatcher is able to send emergency response services to the correct location. E911 also involves Selective Routing, which directs a 911 call to the proper Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) based on the location of the caller.
Intrado delivers comprehensive and reliable E911 solutions for IP (Internet Protocol) phone systems. These E911 solutions help organizations simplify E911 management, reduce infrastructure costs, and meet state and local E911 regulations. Key features of our E911 solutions include:
- Automatic discovery of IP phones
- On-site security desk routing and notification
- 911 caller identification down to the building, floor, and room number
- E911 support for employees on the main campus, at branch offices, and at home
- E911 connectivity to over 6,000 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) across the country
VoIP technology is rapidly becoming an integral part of communication because of its cloud-based infrastructure. This infrastructure offers businesses the flexibility to support hybrid work environments and adapt to changing communication preferences. Businesses that choose to power communications using VoIP will benefit from cost savings, scalability, flexibility, clear audio, simple provisioning, and modern communications capabilities.