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The Beginners Guide to VoIP

Not sure what VoIP is all about? The answer is surprisingly straightforward. To give you a quick lesson on how this flexible and refreshingly clever telephone system works, we've put together a beginners guide to VoIP.

What does VoIP stand for and what does it do?

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. VoIP Technology enables you to transmit voice communications over IP networks, including the the Internet.

What is voice over IP? (VoIP)

What is VoIP? Voice over IP (VoIP) is a relatively new way to make phone calls which cost less and include clever, flexible features. Whenever you use the internet to call friends, family and colleagues, you're using VoIP. At Vonage, we've put this technology into your regular telephone by linking your phone system with your broadband connection.

VoIP is also commonly known as a broadband phone, internet telephony or IP telephony.

How does VoIP work?

In order to make a call via the Internet, VoIP converts your voice into digital data and sends it to your conversational partner using an Internet connection - all at lightning speed. Your contact doesn't need to be using VoIP to talk to you, your VoIP phone system can get in touch with people who are using any device, from smartphones to phone boxes, making it one of the most efficient and flexible telephone systems.

Why is it better than TDM?

TDM (Time Division Multiplexing) is the common system at work in most traditional telephones. It's served us well for decades, but now there's a far cheaper and much more flexible system available. Unlike TDM, VoIP doesn't require costly line rental, is quick and simple to set up and can be very cheap to make calls with.

What are the different kinds of VoIP?

  • Computer VoIP - calls to your Vonage UK business landline number ring on your mobile at no extra charge.
  • IP Phones - These are specialised phones, which look like regular handsets but plug directly into router. This style of VoIP is a little old hat but still available.
  • ATA - Analogue Telephone Adaptors (ATAs) are what we use to deliver accessible VoIP to individuals and businesses. They wirelessly connect your analogue phone to your router, turning your plain old phone system into a VoIP phone system pretty much instantaneously.

Low-cost, flexible calls & even better features

Traditional phones do come with some features, from "hold" options to three-way calls. VoIP offers even better features with easy-to-use systems that help you make use of them; from receiving calls on one phone when you've set up multiple localised numbers, low cost callsto easily setting up call forwarding. This makes VoIP one of the most flexible telephone systems available.

But one of the biggest benefits is the cost. If you're calling another VoIP user, for instance, there's no charge - you only need to cover the cost of your existing broadband connection.

How VoIP works