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Understanding VoIP

What is VoIP?

VoIP put simply, stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. This is a calling method that directs data using the internet. It is a relatively new technology which was ‘developed around 1995, originally it served as a workaround for long-distance and international telephone charges.’ (Hur, n.d.) Since its development, it has been accepted worldwide by many businesses, and personal users, replacing their desk phones with internet softphones, IP Phones, and other VoIP systems.

How VoIP Works

VoIP works by taking traditional analogue phone signals, which you would receive through a desk phone, via a telephone company and converting this into a digital signal which can be received through the internet. This means that as long as you have a strong enough connection to the internet you can have access to a VoIP system. There are 3 main ways you can access VoIP systems (Scott, 2020):

  • Using an ATA: An analogue terminal adapter turns an ordinary phone into a VoIP Phone.
  • Using an IP Phone: An IP Phone connects Directly to the internet, instead of going through a landline service.
  • Using a direct Connection: A VoIP service provider can directly connect you to another VoIP user.

How JPL works with VoIP

To support unified communication and VoIP users JPL has followed the software last approach. On all JPL wired USB headsets and USB video conferencing solutions, we have designed them without the use of the call control functions, not having these buttons allows us to remove the need for downloads on installation and reduces the need for updates in the future. This also makes our headsets and video cameras plug and play with all major softphones. This saves time and resources for the user or technical teams managing a headset/video camera rollout of any size.

For those who already own a QD headset, or like the flexibility QD can offer, JPL offer the same software last approach in several of our USB bottom leads. For IP phones please check compatibility before purchasing your bottom cord using JPL’s compatibility tool.

JPL’s wireless headsets are also compatible with VoIP phone systems. The JPL-Element-BT500D is compatible with all PCs, laptops and Macs when paired via Bluetooth either directly to the device or when using the BT-220 Bluetooth dongle. The JPL-Explore is also compatible when used with the X500 USB Module or connected to the back of your IP Phone. To give a quick and simple connection to your softphone or IP Phone.

At JPL we are aiming to continue to develop new products using this approach so as communication using VoIP continues to evolve, you will not have to worry about purchasing a new headset or video camera.

Benefits of VoIP

Since the first development of VoIP systems, these have evolved into a part of the unified communication family. Introducing instant messaging, video calls and conferencing, online meetings, apps and more. With these capabilities, VoIP has a range of benefits (Scott, 2020):

  • Reduced costs: Due to VoIP systems using the internet to make calls removes the need for costs relating to fixed-line services including; installation, set up, and international calling. For businesses, being able to quickly adjust the contract to increase or decrease the services needed can help reduce extra costs for the business.
  • Improved productivity: Users are able to communicate and collaborate more efficiently with each other. With the ability to integrate easily with other systems through voice, video, or instant messaging.
  • Faster deployment: With many VoIP systems being easy to install and use, this reduces the up-front time and cost of setting up a conventional phone line and desk phone. Increasing the immediate benefits that VoIP provides.
  • Mobility: Users don’t need to be tied down to a specific landline or desk phone and this gives users the ability to connect online remotely. Helping remote, mobile or international workers stay connected.
  • Rich Features: VoIP also gives users more control of their calls. Additional features are available such as call forwarding, blocking, caller ID, call queues, call management, call recording and many more.

Disadvantages of VoIP

Despite the many benefits of using VoIP systems, there are a few things to consider before committing to an online system. Some of the disadvantages include (Business phone systems, n.d.):

  • Audio and visual quality: Depending on the internet service provider, hardware and services you use the quality of the audio may not be as reliable as standard telephone lines. Some users report delays, background noise and echo can occur whilst using VoIP systems. These can be reduced or avoided by upgrading your current infrastructure.
  • Cost: If you are not already connected to the internet or have a substandard infrastructure you may incur extra costs to implement this. You can also incur costs when connecting to people who do not have VoIP capabilities.
  • Bandwidth dependency: VoIP relies on a connection to the internet to function correctly. If the internet connection is lost then your communication is also down. For large offices, it is also worth considering the number of users who will be active at a time. Multiple users can cause strain on the bandwidth causing quality issues for all.
  • Security: As with all online systems, security needs to be considered. Viruses, malware, phishing, spam, and identity theft are some of the threats that have to be considered when choosing the right VoIP system.

Business phone systems. (n.d.). Retrieved from NI Business Info: https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/advantages-and-disadvantages-voip#:~:text=Possible%20threats%20include%20identity%20and,you%20can%20incur%20additional%20costs.

Hur, J. (n.d.). The History of VoIP. Retrieved from be businesses: https://bebusinessed.com/history/voip-history/

Scott, R. (2020, March 11th). What is Unified Communications? Retrieved from UC Today: https://www.uctoday.com/unified-communications/what-is-unified-communications/