If you don’t use a VoIP phone system for voice communication, then you are a traditional phone line (PSTN – Packet-Switched Telephone Network). On a PSTN line, you pay for each minute you spend communicating on the phone. International calls are much more expensive. Since VoIP phone systems use the Internet as a backbone, the only cost you have when using it is the monthly Internet bill to your ISP. Of course, you need internet access (see our WiFi for business solution), but this causes your monthly cost to be a fixed amount. You can speak as much as you wish on a VoIP phone system and the connection cost will still be the same.
Studies have shown that, compared to using a PSTN line, using an IP phone system or a VoIP phone system can potentially make you save up to 40 % on local calls, and up to 90 % on international calls.
On the phone line, only two persons can speak at a time. With IP and VoIP, you can set up a conference with a whole team communicating in real time. VoIP compresses data packets during transmission, and this causes more data to be handled by the carrier. As a result, more calls can be handled on one access line.
Cheap user hardware and software
If you are an Internet user wishing to use an IP phone system or VoIP phone system for voice communication, the only additional hardware you require besides your computer and Internet connection are a sound card, speakers, and a microphone. These are quite cheap. There exist several software packages downloadable from the Internet, which you can install and use for the purpose.
Using VoIP or IP also means benefitting from its abundant features which can make your VoIP experience very rich and sophisticated. You can, for example, make calls anywhere in the world to any destination in the world with your VoIP account. Features also include Caller ID, Contact Lists, Voicemail, extra-virtual numbers etc.
More than voice
As mentioned, a VoIP phone system is based on the Internet Protocol (IP), which is in fact, along with TCP (Transmission Control Protocol), the basic underlying protocol for the Internet.
By virtue of this, a VoIP phone system also handles media types other than voice: you can transfer images, video and text along with the voice. For instance, you can speak to someone while sending her files or even showing yourself using a web cam.
More efficient use of bandwidth
It is known that about 50 % of a voice conversation is silence. IP phone systems and VoIP phone systems fill the ‘empty’ silence spaces with data so that bandwidth in data communication channels is not wasted. In other words, a user is not given bandwidth when he is not talking, and this bandwidth is used efficiently for other bandwidth consumers. Moreover, compression and the ability to remove redundancy in some speech patterns add up to the efficiency.
If you are working from home or remotely, you can still access your IP phone system or VOIP phone system. The portable nature of the VoIP technology is causing it to gain popularity as the trend is towards portable commodities. Portable hardware is becoming more and more common, as are portable services, and VoIP fits in well.
Fax over IP
The problems of fax services using PSTN are high cost for long distances, quality attenuation in the analog signals and incompatibility between communicating machines. Real-time fax transmission on VoIP simply uses a fax interface to convert the data into packets and ensures complete delivery of the data in a very reliable way. With VoIP, there is finally not even the need for a fax machine for sending and receiving fax.
More productive software development
IP phone systems and VoIP phone systems are able to combine different data types and to make routing and signaling more flexible and robust. As a result, network application developers will find it easier to develop and deploy emerging applications for data communication using VoIP. Moreover, the possibility of implementing VoIP software in web browsers and servers gives a more productive and competitive edge to e-commerce and customer service applications.