We get a lot of questions about what VOIP actually is. A lot of times people put a spin on it. You’ll love it. You’ll hate it. It makes everything better. It’s the end of the world. Below, you will find our unvarnished answers to the questions we most frequently hear.
What is VOIP?
VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol and it’s exactly what it sounds like. VOIP (or simply IP) telephones use the internet to send voice packets from phones to other phones in much the same way that traditional phones use phone lines.
What is an IP phone?
An IP phone is the same as a VOIP phone. It is a telephone that works on an IP system.
Is SIP the same as IP?
Not exactly. Many people use the terms interchangeably and nine times out of ten that won’t cause any issues but in fact SIP is a particular protocol that IP technology uses. Unlike many protocols, it is open source, not proprietary.
Is cloud the same as IP?
No. Though cloud telephone solutions use internet technology, cloud telephony is a subset of VOIP telephony. The thing that makes cloud telephony different than other telephony is that cloud telephone systems are not housed on premises. They are housed in a separate facility by a provider. Cloud solutions are also known as hosted solutions. You can read more about cloud solutions elsewhere on the blog.
Can I contact someone with a VOIP phone who doesn’t have a VOIP phone?
Yes. It connects to the regular phone grid through the internet and can be used just like a standard telephone.
Is VOIP better?
That really is a matter opinion. In my opinion there are many situations where it is better. You need to look at several factors: Call quality, upfront cost, monthly cost and security and make a decision based on what is best for your particular situation. You should contact a trustworthy telecommunications professional to help you and have a lot of questions ready.
Will VOIP save me money?
Maybe. I’ll be sharing a blog post about this very question in the near future. Like so many questions, it’s more complicated than people would have you believe. If you’re speaking with an honest telecom company they will work with you to find the best solution for you.
Will everything be over the internet soon?
It’s hard to say. There are a lot of very powerful entities who want it to be that way including all the phone service providers and parts of the Federal government. However even if the pressure to switch the grid over to the internet wins soon, the switch will not be instantaneous. Many rural communities still don’t have a good high speed internet connection. Infrastructure will need to be put in place. Also, if the grid is switched over entirely, you will still be able to use current phone systems with the use of a device called a gateway which converts a signal. So, no worries.
Should I throw away my digital phone system?
That depends. Is it still working for you? Frankly, we usually take an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude. If all your needs are being met and you have a quality phone system, keep it. We have many systems that have been running over 30 years. We have other customers who had running phone systems but wanted new features that weren’t available on 10 year old equipment. If you have ESI equipment, your equipment is migratable so you may be able to keep some of your equipment but migrate to a system with new features you want.
On the other hand, maybe you just want to stop using the phone company and start using SIP trunks. In that case, by all means, get a new system. Or you may be able to just convert your current system with a gateway device.
Is VOIP the technology of the future?
Probably. At least for the present.