Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP):
What it is and how it can help
Voice over Internet Protocol is the technology used to transmit vocal communications and visual media over the Internet. Also known as Voice Over IP or, more commonly, VoIP, the technology includes voice, fax and SMS transmissions. VoIP providers are companies that you may already be well aware of even while being unfamiliar with the technological term. For example, Skype is the leading provider worldwide for VoIP transmissions. This company's name is understandably well-known and often heard in many environments.
VoIP has become instrumental in making long distance calling and other communication between two distant points cheaper and more reliable. Further, VoIP provides a method of transferring voice and data packets without the use of separate lines, eliminating that cost as well as others. Some people have expressed concern regarding the security of a VoIP transmission. However, security processes such as digitizing and digital transmission are part of the standard operation of VoIP services so that security is even more of a standard guarantee than with a traditional phone line. Therefore the necessity becomes choosing a VoIP provider who has a successful method of encryption and authentication in place to further secure transmissions.
Unfortunately, this technology like any other does also have disadvantages. A primary disadvantage is the unreliability of Internet connections. As a service that is relatively new and still growing and changing, it makes sense that the Internet will have periods of unreliability and even unavailability. This is a standard situation with newer technologies. However, when a business requires constant communication and connection, this can make VoIP a less attractive method of keeping those lines open. Also, because of the dependence of VoIP on electricity for the operation of routers and cable modems, this method of communication is lost if power is lost. This is compared to traditional phone lines, which are a separate connection to the phone company and therefore typically remain connected when electricity may fail.
Another notable concern with VoIP technology is the difficulty in placing an emergency call. IP addresses are used for VoIP transmissions. Without a geographic location connected to the identifying number, placing the origination of an emergency call becomes difficult. The lack of a geographic connection to each IP address is one situation that technology experts and VoIP providers will probably look into rectifying in the future. Currently, however, the concern remains.
VoIP providers focus on different aspects of service provided, as is true with any other business niche. Therefore, research is required to find the best provider for service to each business. Some VoIP providers focus on the rates they provide to the customer, which can make for a cheaper bill but can also result in a corresponding lower level of service. Other companies focus on the service provided and therefore can be quite pricey in their fees. .
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