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What It Is And How It Can Help You
VoIP stands or Voice over Internet Protocol and is a way of making phone calls without using a phone line. It is also known sometimes as internet telephony, broadband phone, or IP telephony. You make phone calls using the internet rather than a landline or a mobile network.
The way a VoIP phone system works is to take your analogue voice signals and convert them into digital signals which are then sent as data over your broadband line. It is a very good system because once you have it set up you can make calls for a lot less than using a landline. It is also possible that you can make calls free of charge whether you are calling another country or locally, and no matter how long you spend on the phone.
You can still make calls using your regular old handset. All you need is a VoIP adapter which plugs in either to your phone socket on the wall or to your router. With some apps, you can make calls using your smartphone.
On your computer there are several apps such as Skype, Google Talk, Apple FaceTime, and more, which let you make free calls to anyone else who also has that app installed. With some of them such as Skype, you can also make calls to a landline number or mobile number, but there will usually be a small charge for this. However, calling app to app is free.
Some broadband and home phone providers also offer VoIP calls, so there may be some differences in the way that they work, but it is the standard form of phone line from many FTTP providers (Fibre To The Premises) and VoIP is usually available as a part of any business phone or broadband deal.
In order to use VoIP, you obviously need a broadband connection, and ideally you want a fibre optic one because it is so much more reliable. You would also preferably want an unlimited plan so that you can talk for as long as you need to. Some business broadband providers will provide a full FTTP or ethernet connection which will give the best possible results.
If you want to use VoIP with a PC or laptop you obviously need an internet connection, the right app, and either speakers with a microphone or a head set. A head set is the best because nobody else can listen in to both sides of your conversation. A head set is also best for sound clarity.
If you are going to use VoIP with a traditional handset, you will need an adapter, obviously, and a compatible phone, or a compatible router if it is going to plug into that.
If you plan on using VoIP with a smartphone you will need a Wi-Fi connection and the appropriate app installed on the phone. You can talk to other people who have the same app such as Skype, which is probably the best known, but there are many others such as Apple FaceTime, Google Talk, Viber, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and so on. With some, like Skype and Viber, you can even call landlines direct, but there is a charge for that. Some also allow you to call someone on another device, such as a smartphone, laptop, tablet, and so on, and you may be able to get free video calling, and even group calling.
Then there are other VoIP apps from landline providers. These are useful because they let you use the calling minutes that are in your home phone programme from your smartphone. So if you have cheap weekend calls included on your home phone you can use them on your smartphone too.
VoIP phones for small business are a great idea because anything that a small business can do to keep overheads to a minimum will help. If you happen to be Tesco or Virgin, you probably wouldn’t worry too much about phone costs, but for a small business it can make a big difference. After all, why pay for phone calls if you don’t have to?
Some of the NEC phones are VoIP compatible, such as the NEC VoIP SL1100 and SL2100 systems, and would be another good investment for a small to medium sized business.
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