Megapost: What is VoIP?

Surely those of us who use applications for communication through our computer equipment such as computers, phones and tablets have heard of the technology called VoIP. However, most users do not know in depth what its scope is, nor do they know the advantages that this technology can offer us in our daily activities. What is VoIP Technology

VoIP is the acronym derived from the name of the protocol called Voice Over Internet Protocol, known in Spanish-speaking countries as “Voice over Internet Protocol”, or more commonly as “Voice over IP”. In this megapost we are going to learn all the secrets of this fabulous technology.

What is VoIP?

VoIP, or Voice Over IP or Voice Over IP is the technology that makes it possible to establish telephone conversations in an IP Network (including the Internet), making voice transmission one of the services supported by the data network.

The telephone communication via VoIP has many advantages over conventional telephony , being the main one is the cost reduction that provides, knowing that the data network (and consequently VoIP) is not subject to the same rate schedule that telephone calls conventional , which is calculated based on geodetic distances and hours of use established by the telephone operators.

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Another great advantage of VoIP in relation to conventional telephony is that the latter is based on circuit switching, which may or may not be used, while VoIP uses packet switching, which makes it more “intelligent” in the use of resources. existing (physical circuits and bandwidth).

This feature (packet switching) also has another advantage for VoIP, which is the ability for voice packets to “choose” the best path between two points, always having more than one path, or route, available and therefore , with greater options to reach the destination (intrinsic characteristic of IP networks).

VoIP is generally treated as IP Telephony, and they are totally different definitions. VoIP is the technology or technique of transforming voice into conventional data packets to be transmitted over an IP data network , while IP Telephony, which uses VoIP, brings with it a much broader concept of added services, since it has other applications beyond just VoIP.

IP Telephony can allow the reduction of telephone costs for companies and homes, since data, voice, fax and video services coexist and it also builds new infrastructures for e-commerce applications (eg call center Web). Some of the programs used in the world are Skype, Viber and iCall, among others.

Understanding Voice over Internet What is VoIP technology?

Basically, the VoIP architecture refers to the transmission and sending of voice in digital format, through the route generated through the IP network, that is, using the advantages that Internet-related technologies make available.

For this reason, all the traffic belonging to the Voice over IP protocol can be sent and circulate without inconvenience through any network of the IP type , even the so-called LANs, that is, local area networks.

In general, many users make the mistake of associating VoIP and so-called IP Telephony as similar elements, when in reality they are different protocols created especially for different types of equipment.

In this way, while VoIP refers to all the technology that makes it possible to send voice over the IP protocol, such as the computer language itself on which it is based, the rules that govern it and the different devices that use it. On the contrary, they use IP telephony refers exclusively to the functionalities that certain mobiles include to offer the digital voice transmission service through the IP network.

Thanks to its functionality and architecture, VoIP technology allows users to easily perform a series of tasks that would be complex without the use of said protocol, applications and devices designed for this purpose.

Through the application of VoIP in communications, it is now possible to establish permanent and reliable communications through the use of conventional telephone networks.

By using VoIP it is possible to automatically route all local telephone calls to a telephone that includes VoIP technology, regardless of the physical location it occupies, and as long as it is connected to the network.

In this way, VoIP technology makes it possible for users to establish permanent communication, since it only requires the use of a VoIP telephone connected to the Internet.

This is a more than beneficial aspect, especially for certain work environments, where communication must be permanent, as in the case of employees in sales areas such as Call Centers.

In this case, agents can use VoIP phones that allow them to work from wherever they are and with the simple use of an Internet connection. Even in some countries the advantages of communication through the VoIP protocol include the possibility of establishing totally free communications.

Advantages and disadvantages of VoIP technology

Undoubtedly, VoIP technology can help us save a lot of money in communications, and if we add to this that the technology has reached a state of maturity and quality that allows its use in production environments through integration with telephone systems even more so, since we will have a dual communications system that brings together the best of both worlds.

The main benefits of VoIP

Lower costs per call and choice of service. Because taxes and costs are considerably lower, so is the cost of the service. If you have a fast Internet connection (ADSL or cable), you can make a “PC-PC” connection via Internet to and from anywhere in the world for free. IP telephony “PC-phone”, or “phone-phone” are not free, but they are still cheaper than any traditional phone service.

Integration of services and the possibility of implementing new ones: In some cases, a sound quality superior to the quality of a conventional telephone connection is already possible.

VoiceMail integrated with email.

Call Conference.

Integration with messaging systems.

Call monitoring and management.

Mobility : Another advantage of this new service is its portability. You can make and receive IP telephony calls wherever there is a fast Internet connection, simply by logging into your VoIP account. If we need to travel, with a microphone with headphones, or a special telephone for IP telephony, we will be able to talk with our family and friends in a very simple way. The “phone-phone” type of Internet connection can also be portable. In other words, when a user travels outside their country of origin, they can still keep their number without modifications, that is, without changes to Roaming, as is currently the case with cell phones.

Flexibility: Voice over IP phones are small, allowing us to take them anywhere. When we subscribe an IP telephony provider, we are acquiring a unique number corresponding to a telephone, or to the Internet adapter used by that service. This “phone number” is valid, even if your voice over IP service is in Los Angeles and you are connected to the internet in London. When you use a high-speed connection, anywhere in the world, we can make and receive any communication via the Internet as if we were at home.

On the other hand, by keeping the same user number, the rates remain the same, that is, if you are outside your locality and receive a call from your home country, the call rate will be charged as a local call.

Another benefit that IP telephony presents us is that we can have a VoIP service for home or business use thanks to the fact that at this time there are many different offers on the market. For those who want to try this technology, it is advisable to access the Elastix project , which is free and allows us to set up our own PBX with Linux.

The main disadvantages of VoIP Technology

Defects: Like any other technology, VoIP technology also has certain defects that cast doubt on its integrity in the eyes of users who wish to incorporate this new communication method.

Delays and / or cuts: During a VoIP communication there may be delays in the arrival of packages or even information cuts, although it is important to note that this only happens due to the restrictions that many companies that offer the service may reach. put to use, according to the service we have contracted.

Communication deterioration: Another negative aspect of communication through VoIP technology is the possible deterioration of communication when received by the user. In general, this happens when there is significant congestion on the network, or when we use a low bandwidth that does not allow access to an adequate connection speed.

Essential elements to use VoIP Technology

To use VoIP constantly, it is necessary to have a telephone or transmitting device that works with this technology. However, in order to build a communication structure that works through VoIP applications, it will be necessary to include a series of essential elements for this purpose, mentioned in the technology standard itself.

This type of implementation is essential especially in business environments where the need to reduce operating costs arises, for which a project for the implementation of VoIP communications is established in different sales sectors, such as Call Centers.

What does it take to be able to use VoIP Technology?

Suitable phones: In principle, it is essential to have VoIP phones, also called IP phones, SIP phones, or software-based phones. As their name indicates, they are devices that allow voice transmission over the Internet, that is, they have support for VoIP technology.

Currently, the most popular VoIP phones, especially in the business environment, are usually all those models that are perfectly supported by 3CX telephone exchanges , which use the Microsoft Windows operating system.

These telephones or terminals are the initial and essential element to be able to establish a communication through VoIP technology, and can be implemented in software or hardware.

Gatekeepers: Secondly, the so-called Gatekeepers is required, a device in charge of managing the entire VoIP structure used, fulfilling the function of translating the addresses, and at the same time maintaining a constant record of the devices available on the network. The Gatekeeper actually fulfills a similar function to that of conventional telephone exchanges, so all established communications are managed and controlled from there. Its operation is usually done through software.

Gateway: To establish communications with VoIP technology, it will be necessary to implement the so-called Gateway, also known as PSTN / IP gateways. Basically, this is a linking device, also called a gateway, which is responsible for interconnecting networks with various protocols and architectures, at all levels of communication.

In order to carry out its work, the Gateway will be in charge of translating all the information packets sent with a certain protocol, so that they can be correctly decoded in the destination network by another type of protocol.

In summary, the Gateway is responsible for creating the link between the VoIP communication network and the conventional telephone network, allowing calls to be made to any type of telephone.

Although it is possible to set up a communication structure with VoIP technology by implementing these three key elements, it is important to note that in order to have a fully complete service, the inclusion of other components of vital importance for the success of this methodology will be necessary.

That is why experts in general assure that in addition to the three elements mentioned, it is also advisable to have:

  • Phone hubs
  • PC adapters
  • audio conferencing units and voice MCU, ie a multiple voice system.

Tips for choosing a VOIP operator

The VoIP server is the provider of IP telephony services. He is responsible for the direction and transfer of voice over the Internet. Therefore, it is important that we make a good choice about the person responsible for this service, based on the following parameters:

Trust: Service trust is another critical factor when choosing a VoIP operator. Before choosing, we must know the company behind the service. At this point it may be necessary to ask other users of the service to compare their degree of satisfaction.

Possibility of keeping our phone number : Some VoIP operators allow you to transfer your current phone number to the new VoIP service.   This feature is very useful, because you will not need to report a number change to people, especially those with whom you do not have fluid contact.

Guarantee: If possible, we should always choose the VoIP operator that offers, in addition to the aforementioned advantages and features, the “money back in case it doesn’t work” guarantee .

Technical support: At this point we must not make concessions. Yes or yes we should look for a VoIP provider that offers free technical support. Some charge for technical service, so in this case, the ideal is to opt for the one that offers the best support.

Which is better, free or paid VOIP server?

In the first instance, we must choose between a VoIP operator that offers a free service, or one that offers a paid service (usually with a monthly cost). Making that choice depends on the use that we are going to give the VoIP service.

What is the difference between public IP and private IP

If we are only going to use it to chat with friends and family, a free service will be more than enough for what you are looking for. On the other hand, if what we are looking for is an alternative to conventional telephone service that can offer us the possibility of making calls to conventional, national or international telephones, with confidence and support, we should consider hiring the service of a paid IP telephony operator.

How to choose a VoIP plan

Before choosing an IP telephony operator, the first thing we must do is inform ourselves well about the scope, guarantees and other characteristics of the service.

Some operators offer plans with a free connection package for a certain location, or a certain geographic area. That is why we must advise ourselves well to choose the VoIP operator that has the best plan according to our needs, budget and requirements.

What should a monthly VoIP package offer?

Some packages may seem cheaper, but it may be because they only offer a basic list of services. Others, however, may have a higher cost, but can offer you many additional services. At this point, it is crucial to ask yourself which services are the most important to us. Do we really need to have call waiting? Is it necessary to have “3-way-calling”?

IF we first define our priorities and needs, the search and selection of the best VoIP service will be a really simple task and it will not offer us problems.

VOIP FAQ

What type of internet connection is required to use VoIP ?: VoIP service operators generally offer services for use over DSL or cable modem broadband connections. There is no guarantee of support to the recipient’s connections. Satellite connections have high delay and recurring delays in signal jumps, and can also cause communication problems, such as loss of voice segments. Typical VoIP services need approximately 90 Kbps to achieve the best communication quality, always depending on the VoIP codec used in it.

How Much Does VoIP Service Cost ? VoIP services can cost much less than regular phone services. Actual costs depend on call criteria and chosen service plans. Consumers who purchase VoIP service in conjunction with their broadband connection generally get a better deal.

Is VoIP technology reliable ?: The degree of reliability of VoIP depends on several factors such as availability of network bandwidth, the VoIP operator that we have contracted, the weather conditions or the type of devices with which the device is mounted. system. As with cordless phones, the VoiP phone goes off the air when there is a power failure. To maximize the reliability and availability of our Internet connection and, consequently, of our VoIP service, we must consider the installation of a UPS with a battery system to guarantee power from the electrical network.

Is VoIP secure ?: VoIP telephony may be less secure than conventional telephony. Conventional telephone lines can be “tapped”, that is, accessed from a central office, but that requires physical access and knowledge. A VoIP line can be electronically affected by an internet hacker. Similarly, a network attacker can interfere with your calls by interfering with the flow of data packets. Here we must verify if the security of our network and Internet accesses are active and updated to avoid headaches and guarantee the security of our VoIP calls.

What is the quality of the voice in VoIP ?: It is of very good quality. In reality, the sound quality of a VoIP call is so good that some operators have to inject special sounds (called “comfort sound”) into the transmission, so that the callers do not mistakenly think that the connection was terminated.

Can I call emergency numbers with a VoIP line ?: Yes. Emergency services numbers are supported by VoIP operators through different mechanisms. At this point we can contact the operator to verify under what conditions these calls can be made.

The future of mobile telephony with VoIP technology

There is no doubt that the data suggests a promising future when it comes to communication by VoIP technology , giving rise to a trend that is increasing more and more, since different operating companies around the world are internalizing themselves in the matter, in order to very soon offer VoIP communication among its services.

That is why many specialists assure that sooner or later all the mobile operators on the planet will end up using the VoIP format for their services, something that has been happening for a long time a few years ago, with the incorporation by default of apps such as Skype

For the moment, unfortunately the business of telephone operators still continues to be calls, SMS and MMS , so VoIP technology will have to wait some more time to become the standard for mobile communications.

Although at the moment VoIP technology does not represent a convenient business for large companies, which perceive their profits from conventional communications, the advancement of this novel architecture and its popularity among users worldwide will make Voice over IP become the communication of the future.

What is a softphone?

Basically, a softphone is a type of software that is used to carry out telephone calls with other softphones or also to conventional landline or cell phones. For this they use VoIP technology, better known as “Voice over IP”, or sometimes ToIP technology , also called “Telephony over IP”.  The term comes from the union of the English words “Software” and “Telephone”.

The softphone is a technology that increasingly occupies more space in the communication spectrum, since it offers the user the possibility of communicating with other people by making calls directly from their computer, be it desktop or notebook. It also allows communication in the same way between smart phones, the so-called smartphones. The best known implementations of this technology are Microsoft Skype , 3CX Softphone or RingCentral, among others.

In short, it could be said that the smartphone excludes the requirement to have a fixed line telephone installed, but allows calls to be made and sent to other communication devices of this type and others, as well as everything related to the management of contacts from it. computer, using an intuitive and efficient user interface.

In other words, a softphone transforms the computer into a multimedia telephone, with voice, data and image capabilities. With them it is possible to make calls to conventional telephones over the internet, generally for a lower amount than a normal rate. However, the best feature of this system is that calls can be made between distant computers, in the same way as we would with a standard telephone system, but with the advantage that we can do it completely free of charge.

A softphone uses the Voice over IP protocol to function , and is a member of something much larger, since it is part of a much larger development group called CTI “Computer telephony integration”, which in Spanish means “ Computer telephony integration ” and that is related to the computer systems developed to allow the interaction between computers and telephone lines.

Currently, VoIP is the most popular and effective call service, being one of the technologies that grows the most over time, since one of its best advantages is that it can be used without problems and without the need for expensive hardware. in the field of companies such as home.

What does it take to use a softphone?

We mentioned above that implementing our own Internet calling system using a softphone is not expensive at all, however, there are two scenarios that must be taken into account.

The first of them is the business environment, where we will of course need a USB phone, due to the privacy that this device can offer us and a software that has some characteristics suitable for the business environment. The second scenario is the home or small office, where it is not necessary to have a USB telephone, since as long as the computer has its own audio system, that is, speakers and a microphone, we will be able to establish communication with others.

In both scenarios, in order to make a softphone work, we will need the computer to have adequate software that complies with the standards of the main Internet telephony service providers, which in this case can be Express Talk, StarTele Logic, Adore Softphone, EyeBeam, Zoiper, OpenWengo, Vippie, SJphone, Nexge or sipXphone, among other softphone applications.

For the case of the home or small business, one of the most interesting solutions comes from the hand of Skype, a very popular VoIP software, free, integrated into Windows and that can also be used both with a USB phone and with speakers and microphone.

How to use the Softphone?

At home, we can make VoIP calls more than simply, since all we need is a computer, a microphone, speakers and of course an Internet connection. But in business, the softphone system works a bit more complicated than at home.

Typically, the softphone system is implemented entirely in software, however it requires more complex hardware support, since the software, before being able to establish communication, must communicate with the PBX or PABX panels, acronym in English for Private Branch. Exchange or Private Automatic Branch Exchange , respectively, a fact that is carried out through the company’s LAN.

In these cases, customer information appears on the computer screen when the phone rings, giving call center agents certain information about who is calling and how to receive and address that person.

Make VoIP calls with softphone

Before starting to make a call through a softphone, both through a USB phone and from a microphone and speakers, the first thing we must do is download and install the software.

In this sense, for companies, the best softphone software we mentioned above, and for the home or small business there is perhaps no better solution than Microsoft Skype.

These programs are, for the most part, are really simple and easy to use. They have an intuitive and easy-to-understand interface, and they also have a virtual keyboard very similar to that of conventional telephones. You will not find much difficulty using a softphone.

The ease of use is so great that while you are using the softphone, you can continue to use your computer for other tasks. This is possible thanks to applications such as click-to-dial or IP call waiting.

It should be noted at this point that if we want to have an effective call system through a softphone, we must leave the computer on for as long as possible, since in this way we will ensure that we receive all the calls we need.

As  this technology exclusively uses the Internet connection from  one end of the line to the other, there is normally no cost to the user. It is how to send and receive emails.

However, the business of the operators of this type of VoIP services is when we make calls to conventional telephones, since they charge a small rate, which is generally much lower than the rates charged for common telephony. Also, some VOIP operators charge for enabling this type of connection Depending on the VOIP / IP telephony operator, they can also offer you different plans for each need.

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