What is Voice-Over IP?

Voice-Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) is technology that enables voice calls to be made over the Internet. It is associated with several terms, including IP telephony, Internet telephony, and Voice Over Broadband (VOBB). First developed following the establishment of the Internet in the 1990s, VOIP was initially conceived as a way to avoid the high costs of long-distance and international phone calls. A relatively recent invention, it has since become much more than just a novel means of communicating by phone for less. VOIP transmits voice data using Internet Protocol (IP), namely the most common set of rules that standardize how data is transferred over the Internet. This means that VOIP can interact with any devices and systems also operating through IP. It is for this reason that, while it may originally have facilitated strictly computer-to-computer exchanges, VOIP now also enables calls made to or from landlines and cell phones. Furthermore, VOIP is not limited to voice communication alone: its IP backbone makes it possible to relay images, video, and text. Continually bolstered by advances in computer technology, VOIP has emerged as a tremendous communications tool.

How Does VOIP Work?

VOIP entails breaking down voice calls into digital pieces small enough to transmit between IP addresses. These pieces are called data packets, each comprising the data load along with vital details such as information about the source and destination. Traveling in the same way that emails are exchanged between inboxes, these converted voice signals are given routing information upon leaving the sender and subsequently transmitted to the receiver; once there, the signals are individually decompressed to reconstruct the voice as closely as possible. It was in the 1970s that the protocol known as IP was invented, an answer to the expanding computer networks forming what would eventually become the Internet. It had grown clear that rules were necessary to regulate the way machines transmitted data packets over the network, and IP would therefore ensure these packets arrived at the correct destinations. By using IP, VOIP turns the standard Internet connection into a way of making phone calls without having to go through a telephone company; tapping into an existing data carrier is what allows VOIP services to remain so cost effective. Moreover, VOIP calls are not anchored to a single physical location or device, as is the case for conventional phone use. When converted into digital packets, calls become bundles of data that can be sent to essentially any IP-based device. Users can therefore communicate PC to PC, using a microphone and speakers; PC to phone; phone to phone, using a VOIP adapter; phone to IP phone, a device which transmits calls directly by IP network rather than public telephone network; or IP phone to IP phone.

What are the other forms of telecommunications available to businesses?
Telecommunications encompass any technologies used to communicate information over a distance. Email and conventional phone calls, whether from fixed-line or cellular devices, remain important means of telecommunication used by businesses today. Fax and instant messaging are also common methods.
What are the pros and cons of VOIP?

The main advantages of VOIP technology lie in cost savings and increased efficiency. VOIP effectively streamlines communications by combining voice and digital data onto one network, reducing both equipment and calling expenses. Rather than receiving a separate phone bill that charges by the minute, VOIP users simply pay for their monthly Internet use. VOIP services can also eliminate travel costs with features such as video conferencing, as users are able to make real-time visual contact even if continents apart. Video calling marked a revolutionary step in Internet communications when introduced in the mid-2000s, and it remains a valuable way for individuals to keep in touch with friends and family as well as a key collaborative tool for businesses with non-centralized employees.

Indeed, VOIP introduces immense flexibility to the ways in which its users can interact. Data compression means that more data, namely more calls, can be transmitted over a single line. VOIP is also able to handle a range of media types, allowing for the possibility of speaking through web cam, for example, while simultaneously exchanging files, images, or instant messages. VOIP essentially offers a highly versatile, portable, virtual version of a phone that can be accessed simply through an Internet connection. Furthermore, it is far easier to add, remove, or adjust the number of users on a VOIP network as compared to making similar changes to traditional phone lines.

The disadvantages to VOIP have diminished considerably with advances in technology. Early on, its primary obstacles were low bandwidth and primitive computers. A good Internet connection remains a limiting factor today, and, while greatly improved, sound quality cannot be guaranteed. Security is perhaps the most prominent issue with VOIP technology, for as an open, Internet-based platform, it is vulnerable to security breaches such as viruses and worms. Whereas a phone company would manage the security of conventional phone lines, individuals and companies using VOIP need to take responsibility for assessing and securing their own networks.

What are the pros and cons of the other forms of telecommunications?

In a world continually searching for ways to do more in a shorter amount of time, real-time communication is the most valuable aspect of exchanges by phone or instant messaging. Fax and email may not be quite as immediate, but they do enable users to send documents back and forth securely. As a portable device, the cell phone offers the greatest convenience, and the advent of iPhones and smart phones has meant that multiple, if not all, methods of communication may be used through a single device at any time.

On the other hand, a good network connection is always a limiting factor for cell phone coverage, and it is easy to accumulate significant costs once outside of a local network. Landlines usually also come with high charges for international and long-distance calling, the original motivation for developing VOIP technology. The primary disadvantage with fax is that it tends to be significantly slower than other options and requires a specific, non-portable machine.

Within the market of VOIP what differentiates Globex?
  • Pay-as-you-go plans
  • Customers can use their own VoIP equipment or rent/buy from Globex
What would be three main competitive advantages of Globex?
  • Offers a number of services for residential, business as well as wholesale customers
  • No need to prepay or add credit to an account for international calling: you pay for minutes used each month
  • No contract or sign-up fees
Primarily what type of companies and businesses would take the most advantage of VOIP?

As a powerful tool for streamlining communications, VOIP proves particularly useful for companies with larger or more widespread workforces. Whether based in international branch locations, traveling on assignment, or simply working from home, employees belonging to a VOIP network always have a quick means of staying connected. Call centre-oriented companies can also significantly reduce costs by coordinating a virtual network of agents rather than staffing a full-time, fixed customer service centre. VOIP can also provide a cost-effective communications solution for smaller businesses.