VoIP – Internet Telephony - Voice over IP


What is VoIP?


Very simply, VoIP is sending telephone calls over the Internet. VoIP stands for “Voice over IP”, where IP means Internet Protocol.


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What can VoIP do for me?


VoIP can dramatically reduce you telephone costs, whether you are an end user or a company looking to save on PBX costs.


VoIP for Business


The benefits of VoIP don't stop just with reducing call reception costs to roaming users. Utilising our SIP Trunking service, a company can replace all of its traditional telephone lines, from single user PSTN lines all the way to ISDN30 trunks, with a VoIP connection. For a company with multiple locations the savings can be enormous, as all internal calls, even international ones, between VoIP users are charged at just 1.75p per miunute. Remote workers can log into the VoIP service from anywhere, and hence both their internal, and any DDI number allocated, will “follow” them wherever they connect from. When out in the field, a worker's Smartphone can double as their desk phone, resulting in significant time savings when colleagues need to get in touch and would traditionally have to try several numbers, or leave voicemails which then have to be collected, listened to, and responded to.


VoIP enabled PBXs are replacing older systems in many businesses, the Switch VoIP system is fully compatible with the industry standard SIP and IAX protocols. SIP is most commonly used for VoIP telephones, IAX is used for connecting VoIP PBXs together, and can also help where firewalls make SIP usage impractical, our system is configured to make both protocols available to all users by default, ensuring maximum compatibility.


VoIP for Individuals


Many business people nowadays have number forwarding, where their business number, whether it's an 0845, 0800, or traditional 01 or 02 number, is forwarded to a different location, so they can receive business calls on their mobile phones, or at various offices, whenever and wherever is convenient, instead of being tied to their main desk phone to stay in contact. Forwarding calls can be expensive however, as the number provider has to charge the person receiving the call the cost of sending it over an external network, and in the case of mobile networks the charges can soon add up.


However, if the person receiving the calls uses VoIP to connect to their telephone service, then there are no high mobile network charges involved, and the forwarding service can be provided at a much lower per minute price.


How does it work?


The end user purchases the VoIP upgrade from Switch. We then provide a username and password, with which the user can then log in, from anywhere in the world, over the Internet, to receive their calls. When someone dials the user's number, we route the call to our VoIP server cluster, which in turn contacts the VoIP application the user has logged in from. This could be an app running on the user's smartphone, a “softphone” running on their computer, or a dedicated VoIP telephone plugged into the local LAN or connected by Wi-Fi. Our advanced telephone infrastructure handles all the conversions needed between the caller using a traditional phone line and the recipient using VoIP.


What's the call quality like?


Call quality does depend on having a reasonable Internet connection available, but as long as the end user has access to a connection with reasonable bandwidth (which can include Wi-Fi networks as long as they are not overloaded), call quality is easily as good as on a traditional telephone, and can in some cases be better. On any good quality broadband connection, call quality will be indistinguishable from a landline phone call.


What happens if I want to receive calls where there isn't a sufficiently good Internet connection available?


With Switch, you have the choice of up to three different “targets” for your forwarded number to go to. If any of them are unavailable, the system automatically routes the call to the next one. So you could set your VoIP service as the first target, with a fallback to your mobile number, and failing that, your office's reception number. If you are without an Internet connection but have mobile coverage, the call will be forwarded to your mobile number, but any time you do have Internet access, you can avoid the cost of mobile call charges by using the VoIP to receive your calls. If you're somewhere that has neither Internet nor mobile coverage, your receptionist can receive the call so the enquiry isn't lost, or you could use our voicemail services to receive such calls.


 




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