VoIP: The Ultimate Guide

Here's your complete, comprehensive guide to VoIP.

VoIP. Yet another telecoms acronym. We’re all too familiar with the over-complicated jargon used today (especially by the telecoms industry).

Nobody likes jargon. Nobody.

VoIP is one of those acronyms that most people have heard of. Maybe you know a bit about it, maybe you know a lot—but you’ve almost certainly heard it somewhere, especially if you own or run a business.

So, here’s my complete, comprehensive, thorough, in-depth, broad, encyclopaedic, sweeping, extensive, exhaustive, I’ve got a little carried away with the thesaurus, ultimate guide to VoIP.

What is VoIP?

VoIP stands for Voice Over IP. Basically, VoIP means that your business makes phone calls using your existing broadband connection, rather than a dedicated telephone line.

And that’s pretty much it. VoIP is just a newer, more modern method for making voice calls (it’s normally quite a bit cheaper than the other methods too).

VoIP is also known as:

  • IP telepony
  • Internet phone
  • Broadband phone

In fact, most people regularly use VoIP everyday without even knowing about it. Seriously. If you’ve ever called anyone on WhatsApp, you’re using VoIP. Or, if you use FaceTime Audio, or Skype, or the phone feature in Facebook Messenger, then you’re using VoIP.

To be honest, VoIP isn’t inherently much different from traditional phone calls - it just uses a different technology.

VoIP Phone

Origins of VoIP.

VoIP isn’t new. I know I’m banging on about this ‘new, modern’ VoIP technology, but VoIP has actually been around since 1973.

The issue was that, ‘back in the day’, the internet was still in its infancy and (as anyone who has ever used dial up will tell you) pretty unreliable. Therefore, VoIP was just awash with connectivity and quality issues that made the alternatives (PSTN or POTS) a much better option.

Nowadays, however, the internet is much more reliable and fibre broadband has meant that higher bandwidth and faster speeds are available. With these better connections, VoIP’s teething issues were washed away and it began to overtake ISDN.

How does VoIP work?

So, traditionally (without VoIP), phone calls are made using the PSTN - which uses analogue telephone lines to carry voice between the two parties making a call.  This PSTN is made up of a vast network of telephone exchanges across the UK.

Any business that wants to be able to make or receive phone calls requires at least one (if not several) telephone lines from their premises to the local telephone exchange; as well as a telephone line to run their broadband.

But not any more.

VoIP does away with the need for multiple lines and just makes better use of your existing broadband connection.

VoIP diagram

You can see from the diagram above that VoIP makes your telephony much more cost effective, and enables more features including home workers, mobile softphones, desktop clients and more.

Just a bit more technical…

Technically speaking, VoIP uses packet switching instead of circuit switching. Circuit switching is the more ‘old-fashioned’ method of making and receiving calls.

This ‘circuit switching’ uses a technology called ISDN. ISDN is going out of date, and is set to be switched off by Openreach in 2025, which could cause an issue for businesses not using VoIP.

Whilst there is no need to panic, it may be a good idea to research possible VoIP options when your current telephony contract/lease ends - just to make sure that your business communications are future proof.

Examples of VoIP.

Earlier in the guide, I mentioned that you probably already use a VoIP service. In fact, most modern forms of communication use some form of voice over IP technology - especially those in smartphones.

Examples of these VoIP services include:

  • FaceTime Audio
  • WhatsApp calling
  • Skype
  • Discord

As you might have gathered, VoIP is everywhere. It’s used by some many people, in so many different applications.

VoIP Phone System

What are the main benefits of VoIP?

We’d be here for hours if I listed every benefit of VoIP. So here’s a quick little tease of some of the main benefits of VoIP.

Lower cost - VoIP is low cost. Like, seriously low cost. No costly on-site hardware, no maintenance, just the cloud. Packages start at just £10/mo. For a fully-featured phone system.

Included calls - VoIP offers cheaper calls, and with our VoIP packages, you’ll get 5000 minutes included - absolutely free.

Flexibility - VoIP is more flexible than a traditional phone system. You can build your package up using bolt-ons, so that you’re not over spending on excessive features that you don’t need.

Feature rich - VoIP phone systems are packed full of features. Seriously packed. Features including:

  • Hunt groups
  • Music on hold
  • Voicemail
  • Call queuing
  • Call recording
  • Mobile App
  • Online chats
  • Exchange/Outlook integration
  • Included minutes,
  • Wallboards
  • CMS integration

Future proof - Future proofing your business is a must. Our VoIP systems automatically update, so you don’t have to pay for the latest software, it’s already installed for you. You’ll also have access to new features as soon as they come out.

Scalability - Need a new user? Just add one. Opened up a new office location? Just add more licences. You get the picture, VoIP scales nicely with your business.

Want to know more?
See our VoIP packages ›