Beginnerís Guide: What is VoIP and How Does it Work? (Explained)

Beginnerís Guide: What is VoIP and How Does it Work? (Explained)
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We are often asked by beginners: what is VoIP and how does VoIP work? If you are a non-techy user, then you may have heard that you could use VoIP to add a business phone number for your website.
VoIP is a more cost-effective way to get a business phone number for your website when compared to a traditional phone line. However before making any decision, you need to fully understand what the technology is all about.
In this beginnerís guide, we will answer what is VoIP, and how does VoIP work behind the scenes. The goal is to help you understand how VoIP can save you money and help you grow your business.
What is VoIP and How it Works (Behind the Scenes)
Here is an overview of what weíre going to cover in this guide. You can click on these links to jump straight to different sections.
What is VoIP?
How does VoIP work? (Behind the scenes)
What are the advantages and disadvantages of VoIP?
Which is the best VoIP phone service?
How to make a call using VoIP?
Frequently asked questions about VoIP (FAQs)
What is VoIP?
VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) is a phone technology that allows you to make and receive phone calls using the internet instead of traditional phone lines.
Unlike landline phone systems that are limited to a single desk phone in your office, VoIP lets you make and receive business phone calls from your laptop, tablet, regular smart phone (using an App), and even VoIP compatible office phone sets.
Since all calls are made over the internet, itís extremely cost-efficient for both domestic and long distance (international) calls. Most business VoIP providers offer unlimited minutes without any extra cost.
Aside from the cost savings, you also get all the advanced phone features like call waiting, call routing, caller tones, auto-attendant, multiple phone numbers, and more.
This is why most small businesses and even enterprise companies are all switching away from traditional phone providers to a business VoIP provider.
At WPBeginner, we use Nextiva, a leading VoIP based business phone system.
How VoIP Actually Works? (Behind the Scenes Look)
To understand how VoIP actually works, we will take a look at what happens when you make or receive a phone call on VoIP phone.
How VoIP works Behind the Scenes
When you make a phone call using VoIP, their business phone number app or VoIP adapter takes the analog audio signal and turn it into digital signal.
This digital voice data is then sent to the business phone service provider using your internet, and then finally the message is routed to your customerís phone.
This process happens nearly instantly which is why sometimes VoIP sound quality is even better than regular phone calls.
How is VoIP different than Traditional Phone System?
VoIP works differently behind the scenes from a regular landline phone system.
Traditional telephony systems use the circuit switching method for connecting calls. When you make a call through the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), youíre connected to the person on the other end, and theyíre connected to you in a circuit.
The ëCircuit switchingí technology is used for more than a 100 years now. It is reliable and still works, but is not the most efficient or cost-effective.
VoIP uses the ëpacket switchingí method instead. This means that data is only sent when needed. A brief, instant connection is created each time you speak. The connection doesnít need to go both ways all the time. You and the person youíre talking to will not normally be both speaking at the same time.
Plus, packets of data are sent efficiently. They can use many different paths through the internet. The packages are then put back together when they reach their destination.
The data packets can also be compressed to save space. This lets them travel even more quickly through the internet.
All of this happens very fast. Unless thereís a problem with your internet connection, you will not notice any delay during the call.

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