VoIP and SIP: the telephony future

If you are interested in telecoms, and, in particular, in the telephony subject, you probably have heard about two trendy concepts: VoIP and SIP. If you still do not know what they are, this post is perfect for you. Let us get into the bases and foundations of these new technologies.

Well, the first thing to keep in mind is that phones do not work as they used to do it in the past. Before the expansion of fiber optic technology, telephones operated with their own connection plugged into a network of wire, and managed by a company that dealt specifically with that area. Now, phones work through the internet connection. This is known as VoIP, which means Voice Over Internet Protocol. That’s right, it is simple: talking on the Internet with your voice as you do with your own phone.

This means, in practical terms, that it is necessary to have a router in order to have a conversation. Many people (most, really) have stopped using landlines at home and, instead, use mobile devices (such as smartphones) to communicate with others. However, this does not mean that traditional telephone communication has died. Companies need telephones to operate or to answer customer service calls, among other things.

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One of the biggest complaints of users about VoIP technology is that, precisely, because the phone depends on the Internet connection, if there are connection problems it is necessary to use another phone to call the internet service provider and solve it.

To make VoIP calls it is required to use special software tools. However, software is not the only way to make VoIP calls because there are hardware tools that make this task possible. These phones are known as SIP: Session Initiation Protocol phones, and they operate within an IP network, without any substantial difference regarding any communication made through the Internet, such as instant messaging systems. In simple words, it is a specific protocol for telephony, as well as the one we use to visit websites (https.)

 

Read also: What You Need To Know About The Telecom Industry In Mexico, by Peter Foyo

 

There are two types of SIP phones: hardware-based phones and software-based ones. The former is apparently indistinguishable from the traditional ones, and the only difference is that they include a hardware system that allows them to make and receive calls over the Internet via VoIP. In fact, it is possible to use a traditional telephone to make VoIP calls, and, for making it possible, it is only necessary to connect the analog device to an ATA adapter, which, in turn, connects to the router.

Software-based phones work in different ways, and their use is increasingly extensive. It is about using any device connected to the internet (a tablet, a smartphone, or a computer) to make calls or receive them through the internet connection we all know. So, you only need to install a software (and some of them are free, by the way,) and start using it as a phone. In this case, and for the calls to have a better quality, it is recommended the device to be directly plugged to the router, unless the wireless connection is flawless and fast (which, of course, this is not always the case.)

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Image by Taehyun Kim | Flickr

In addition to the considerable savings involved in the implementation of a VoIP system for communications (for instance, in a company,) there are many other advantages that make it the best option for more and more users in the digital era we are experiencing nowadays. While any type of traditional operator will increase the cost of telephone bills through the use of caller IDs, multiple calls, or call transfer services, IP telephony integrates all these utilities and many more in its service for all customers without any additional cost.

However, what most attracts the attention of millions of companies around the world is the versatility and flexibility of this technology, which allows adapting the benefits to the size of the organization. This is the reason why more and more small companies choose to move from traditional technology to the IP system since they can adapt the possibilities of their communications as they grow as businesses. VoIP telephony can be managed through a single invoice, which includes the fees of the entire communications system of your company, so the payment will be a much simpler matter than in other cases.

Because calls are made online, it is much easier to register and monitor them if users request it. If a conversation is recorded (and most VoIP software allow it,) it is converted to a sound file that can be stored, edited, and shared like any other. Moreover, this technology allows others to integrate, such as Big Data. It is possible now to determine more easily how many calls enter, how long they last, between whom the conversations take place, and at what times of the day. This is especially useful for the metrics and statistics needed for marketing and other tasks.

 

Recommended: 5 trends that will define the future of VoIP