VoIP – What is it and is it right for you? Advantages & Disadvantages

VoIP is a term that describes a technology that allows you to make and receive calls, text messages and emails using a regular phone and internet connection. Depending on your phone, you may see this in the form of a softphone, a smartphone, or a desktop phone. There are many business VoIP services and software that can be used to make calls from all of your mobile devices. Some of these can even make it seem like you are talking to someone from the other side of the world!

You can use VoIP phones just about anywhere you can connect to the Internet. So, what are some of the best places to use them? Well, one of the most popular places to use them is on your computer. If you use a computer, you can use VoIP phones on your desktop or laptop. You might be required to install special software on your computer to use these phones, but for most users, it’s easy to install.

With the popularity of VoIP, many people have wondered what the benefits are, but the most common responses are that it offers a lower cost for phone calls and offers a higher quality. The biggest downside most people see is that it offers a lower quality of service when it comes to calling people that aren’t on a network that you can connect to. For people that would like to use a VoIP phone system at home, there exist a number of solutions that make life much simpler.

Advantages of Using VoIP

1. Low Cost-Per-Call

Compared to traditional telephone systems, VoIP is a low-cost alternative. Calls can be made and received via VoIP over internet/broadband, as the name implies. The elimination of tons of individual telephone lines will significantly reduce running costs for your business.

The VoIP services are available with Commsplus as ‘call bundles’. Offering value for money and helping you reduce your business’s telephone bill.

2. Rich features

Voip offers a broad range of features, including call forwarding, blocking, caller ID and voicemail, as well as remote management, automatic call distribution, and interactive voice recognition.

3. Multiple Integration

By integrating VoIP with other systems, staff can collaborate based on voice, video, messaging, web conferencing usually with one user interface.

4. Clearer Voice Quality

As VoIP services first emerged, their weak call quality was one of their most significant drawbacks. Throughout the entire process, calls would drop out of nowhere, voice quality was bad in itself, and latency was a problem.
Voice quality shouldn’t be an issue nowadays, as long as you have a fast and reliable Internet connection. VoIP calls are often clear and crisp, without lag or stuttering, as well as no latency issues. Sadly, we’ve all experienced a poor videoconference experience, at one point or another.

Having a good connection and bandwidth is essential to high-quality VoIP calls. In the absence of this, the process can be a nightmare, especially if you often find your office making simultaneous calls. Almost everyone calls in using their cell phone, causing them to suffer through background noise, echoing, and delays.

By using VoIP phones it eliminates those interruptions, thereby allowing you to focus on the conversation. VoIP phones can achieve superior sound quality thanks to developments such as noise-cancelling microphones and audio compression.

5. Flexibility

VoIP offers an additional advantage of being extremely flexible. VoIP can be customized to meet your business’ needs. With this flexibility, it is simple to design a VoIP telephone system that meets the needs of your business. Thousands of users can theoretically be added if you have sufficient bandwidth.

Disadvantage of Using VoIP

1. Bandwidth dependency

VoIP depends on your internet connection. If your connection goes down, so does your phone line. Similarly, insufficient bandwidth will likely cause quality issues with the service.

2. Extra costs

You may incur additional charges if you use VoIP to call a person without VoIP capability.

3. Limited Location Tracking for Emergency Calls

Third parties often have difficulty tracking VoIP calls due to its portability and accessibility.
The calls originate from an IP address, which does not contain GPS or cell tower information that can be tracked. Most of the Callers don’t need the information, but this poses a problem to emergency services. During an emergency, you may need to state your location.

4. Latency and Jitter

Any internet-based technology can face other connection issues besides speed, such as latency and jitter.
The data packets used in online communications (whether they are emails, video, or audio) are broken up into smaller chunks(bits) called “data packets.” These packets are then reassembled at their final destination to create the original message.
These data packets are subject to latency and jitter when they are delayed in transmission or are incorrectly reassembled. Your network might not even be involved; major internet infrastructures modify traffic routes in order to deliver traffic reliably, as quickly as possible. The changes take place automatically without any involvement from you.

Why does latency and jitter occur

  • Unstable Internet connection — The bandwidth requirements for VoIP are greater than the bandwidth requirements for surfing the web. If you are experiencing slow Internet speeds, perhaps you should speak with your ISP.

How to fix the latency issue?

VoIP call quality is not always affected by latencies. Despite this, it does cause the caller to feel frustrated and misunderstood, which, in turn, leads to miscommunication and frustration. 
Jitter is often caused by network congestion. In most cases, latency is a result of this congestion. Rather than allowing other data on your network to take precedence over the voice over IP data, you should place the voice over IP data first. The right VoIP router can assist you in this as well as with other issues that might arise within the VoIP phone system.

How to fix the Jitter Issue?

It is acceptable to tolerate 30 milliseconds of jitter (or less). If it exceed that amount of time, you may experience serious call quality issues which can negatively affect your customer service efforts. Therefore, jitter can be fixed by first upgrading your network configuration and ensuring you have a strong internet connection.

5. Packet Loss

Most people have a vague awareness of packet loss, but don’t really know what it is or why it happens. In a VoIP network, packets travel from source to destination, and if a packet is lost or corrupted, a VoIP call cannot be completed correctly. Packet loss is a very common problem when making VoIP calls. There is no easy way to solve the problem, since the cause is very hard to pin down. It happens when the wireless channel can’t keep up with the amount of data pouring into the wireless network. Sometimes a VoIP call will be dropped, and other times a VoIP call will be delivered in a manner that is not the intended delivery mechanism.
Packet loss occurs for a variety of reasons, including:

  • A bad or broken cable.
  • Unreliable wireless or wired connections.
  • Network congestion.
  • Network misconfiguration.
  • Network errors.

How to fix the Issue?

Identify and eliminate interference sources – Eliminate everything that could cause interference. Most of the time network interference can be caused by power lines, cameras, wireless speakers and wireless phones. Avoid causing network congestion (don’t download large email attachments or stream videos, download large files). You may want to consider switching from a wireless to a wired connection in order to reduce packet loss.

6. Security

VoIP is no different from other internet technologies when it comes to security. There are a number of potential threats to telecom operators, such as identity theft, phishing, viruses and malware, denial of service attacks, spamming over the Internet, and call tempering.

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