(By Cameron Matter - Account Executive, YourSix Communications / Deerwood Technologies)
VoIP technology is a multifaceted and powerful business communications tool. The following information is designed to make the average user as knowledgeable as the high-tech geeks out there who get excited about connecting business phone and Internet service into a helpful, reliable resource.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is simply a protocol that enables voice calls to traverse a data connection. This doesn’t mean your voice calls must go over the Internet; in some models this is true, in others it is not. Because the term “VoIP” is loosely used, we’ve broken it down into the three most commonly offered models by business phone providers.
Public Internet Model - This model uses the Public Internet to place and receive telephone calls. This method typically costs a fraction of traditional voice services that utilize the public switched telephone network. The downside to routing calls over the Internet is the loss of end-to-end control over the call. Depending on factors such as bandwidth and congestion, this model can result in lower quality voice transmission than calls placed on traditional land-lines. The technologies used in this model continue to improve quality, but at this time providers do not guarantee it.
In-house VoIP Model- This model uses VoIP within your business network. The VoIP traffic does not leave your building/office unless you have a secondary building/office that is on the same network. This model provides the features of VoIP without the risk of impaired voice quality associated with using the Public Internet to complete a call. Quality can be guaranteed because the VoIP traffic is transmitted and received within a controlled environment.
VoIP to the Provider – This model can be considered an extension to the In-house VoIP model described above. VoIP services within your network are extended to transmit your VoIP traffic over a dedicated private connection to the provider’s data center. Once the VoIP traffic reaches the provider, it is converted to traditional TDM technology and uses the public switched telephone network to complete the call. This model combines some of the cost savings associated with Public Internet service offerings while guaranteeing voice quality.
Now we’ll consider the three most commonly offered VoIP business phone systems. Each system has its benefits, and which one is the best fit for you depends on your business’s needs, goals, and environment. YourSix Communications prides itself on helping businesses understand and navigate through the plethora of communications solutions. We tailor solutions to YOUR business, designing custom solutions that support all your business objectives, work within your budget, and allow your business to take full advantage of technology.
VoIP PBX/Premise Based VoIP Phone System- VoIP PBXs are business phone systems that typically reside at the customers premise in a phone or data closet. This system converges your voice traffic onto your existing data network. This convergence allows people to use different forms of communication, different devices, and different media to communicate to anyone, anywhere and at any time. Systems frequently allow for integration of other business systems including but not limited to real-time communication services such as instant messaging (chat), presence information, business CRMs, voicemail to email, video conferencing, fax to email, and mobility.
Hosted PBX/Premise Based VoIP Phone System is a hosted PBX system that delivers PBX functionality as a service, available over the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and/or the Internet. Hosted PBXs are typically provided by the telephone company, using equipment located in the premises of the service provider’s exchange.
This means the business doesn’t need to buy or install PBX equipment (generally the service is provided by a lease agreement). The telephone company can, in some configurations, use the same switching equipment to service multiple PBX hosting accounts. Instead of buying PBX equipment, users contract for PBX services from a hosted PBX service provider, a type of application service provider (ASP), which is a common source for computer-based services delivered over a network.
Hosted IP Telephony is the licensing of VoIP systems, Internet access, telephone access, and more. It is similar to an ASP model, where you purchase and pay for what you need and the provider houses, maintains, and owns the required equipment. In this model the business phone system is housed in the provider’s central office, and they provide the data network components, the phones, and the integration to the customer’s network.