What is VOIP, or Voice Over Internet Protocol?


The 21st century may offer consumers a number of means for contacting a business, from live chat services and email to social media. However, phone calls still form the backbone of communication services. Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) leverages the growing connectivity of high-speed internet to provide telephone service that is compatible with traditional landline phones and mobile devices alike.


What is a VOIP System?

A VOIP system, or Voice Over Internet Protocol system, is simply a phone service deployed over the internet. VOIP networks transmit voice communications and video calls over IP networks to provide unified communications for personal and business applications alike. VOIP was traditionally deployed using IP services to connect with private branch exchanges, but more recently, the term is used almost interchangeably with IP telephony.

VOIP is possible because of various technologies and methodologies that deliver voice communications, such as simple incoming calls, over an Internet connection. This can occur on local area networks (LAN) or wide area networks (WAN), and only requires the user to have an endpoint device capable of receiving phone calls. This includes VOIP phones, softphone applications running on a PC with VOIP software, and mobile devices.

How does a VOIP Phone Work?

Call it IP telephony, internet telephony, or broadband internet phone service, but at the end of the day, VOIP is simply a technology set that allows individuals to make phone calls at anytime from anywhere using an internet-connected computer. VOIP works by converting the sound of someone’s voice into a digital signal that is transmitted using computer networks. When a user picks up the phone to make a call, the sound of their voice is packaged into digital data packets that are transmitted via the internet to a user on the other end.

What is an IP Address?

The term IP address stands for internet Protocol address. The latter part of this term refers to the unique number that is linked to individual online activity from a particular internet connection. One could think of an IP address like the return address on an envelope as it allows online activity to be traced back to its origin as a result of its unique number. An IP address is assigned to devices by the internet provider and computers follow built-in networking standards and rules (protocols) to connect to the internet so information and data can flow back and forth.

How do VOIP Phones Work Compared to a Landline Phone?

Traditional landline voice services are limited by the connectivity of telephone lines. In order for an older analog phone to make a connection, whether it is across town or long distance, there must be a physical network of connections that ensure the sound of a voice can travel from point A to point B. These circuit-switched networks require a great deal of investment by service providers and end-users. Phone lines have to be run across the country and around the world, and each user must have a phone in hand for phone calls to be completed.

VOIP eliminates these hurdles by taking advantage of the broader reach of internet connectivity, while reducing costs. A business, for example, can have more than just one phone connected per internet connection to provide phone service for all employees within a single location. By contrast, a traditional line phone service would require running physical wires to each job site and individual workstation. The only thing VOIP requires is an internet connection for phone service to operate efficiently.

A VOIP phone can be hardware-based or software-based in nature. A hardware-based VOIP phone looks just like a traditional handset. It boasts similar features to the desk phone employees are already accustomed to using, such as speakerphone, caller ID display, and a touchpad. Additional features include voicemail, call conferencing, and call transfer. Another type of VOIP phone is known as a softphone. These devices use VOIP software to enable phone communications. This can be installed on a computer or mobile device and offers an interface much like a traditional phone handset.


Does VOIP Slow Down Internet?

As with any other form of internet communication, the speed of the network connection determines whether or not VOIP will hinder internet performance. Users with slow speeds that experience slow load times for webpages may find that VOIP slows down internet performance further with its use, but that isn’t always the case. Broadband internet solutions present no issue for those switching to VOIP.

Users with a strong, fast broadband connection won’t notice any slowdowns in internet performance using VOIP. As a matter of fact, VOIP phone calls use up less bandwidth during a one-hour call than is used by an individual surfing the web for that same period of time. In general, VOIP phone calls also take up less bandwidth than downloading files.

Just How Secure is a VOIP Line?

VOIP phone service can be as secure as you need it to be. Like any other web-based activity, VOIP should be encrypted and security protocols on the computers and mobile devices making phones calls will determine the overall security of VOIP services. Once again, working with a VOIP phone provider such as CompleteCloud Voice enhances the security of the telephone service in question.

What our customers say

Thierry Moussu

Thierry Moussu

Head of Digital Relations, Direct Energie

Scalable and open, the RingCentral Engage platform was exactly what we needed both in terms of our increasing contact load and our desire to be innovative with regard to digital customer relations.

Frédéric Gonin

Frédéric Gonin

Head of Customer Service Transformation CANAL+

RingCentral Engage is a pillar in our customer care strategy. RingCentral Engage’s software and expertise has helped us to improve quality of service, enable peer support and self-service, and move our subscriber interactions into the digital domain.

Marie-Hélène Albertini

Marie-Hélène Albertini

Head of Forums and Social Networks, Customer Service, Orange France

RingCentral Engage has enabled us to embrace our customers on digital channels at scale. The solution was able to satisfy the complex and demanding standards of our business, reconciling the imperatives of community marketing and corporate communications with the obligations of customer service helped us to improve quality of service.