VOIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol enables people to use the Internet as their medium for transmitting phone calls. Voice data is transmitted in packets, which contain the destination address as well as the data using IP (Internet Protocol.) Most networks combine IP with TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol). There is no direct link between the sender and the receiver in IP, but TCP/IP immediately establishes a connection between two hosts, so that they can message each other directly.
There are many advantages that small businesses can gain from using VOIP over traditional PSTN (Packet-Switched Telephone Network.) The main benefit is of course the cost, without VOIP businesses have to pay for each minute that is spent communicating over the phone. This makes it difficult to incorporate into a monthly budget and means that employees need to be monitored more closely when making personal phone calls. The only expense a business will have with VOIP is a fixed monthly Internet bill. This does mean that the business will need broadband with a high speed connection, but many cable and Internet companies offer special deals specifically for small businesses. Any successful business needs a dependable Internet connection anyway and eliminating traditional phone lines is a proven method of cutting costs. Studies have shown that customers who use VOIP save an average of 40% on domestic telephone calls and an impressive 90% on international calls.
VOIP enables more than two people to be on the line at the same time, which makes conference calls between whole teams possible. VOIP even comes with the same features as traditional phone calls, such as voicemail, caller ID, and contact lists. The beauty of VOIP is that it can also be used on a variety of network layouts, including WI-FI. In the past, sending faxes over PSTN has always been expensive, but VOIP is able to transmit faxes much more reliably. In fact, there is no need for bulky and expensive fax machines, which just clutter office space. One more benefit of VOIP is that is easy to have more than one phone number and there is even free software available to record inbound calls and to provide a professional sounding answering service.
Here are some great VOIP providers we recommend