IP telephony or Internet phone service is beneficial for companies that make significant numbers of long-distance calls. For an IP telephony call, the customer pays only for the call to the internet gateway and its own company intranet. Thus, the calls are billed at local tariff instead of long-distance charges. This technology uses IP networks such as the internet or other packet switched networks for routing the calls and provides a cost-effective alternative to traditional PSTN (public switched telephone network) phones. There are three types of connections in IP telephony, namely, telephone to telephone, telephone to computer and computer to computer.
IP telephony is a sophisticated technology that allows audio, video, wired as well as wireless communication, through the usage of Internet Protocol (IP) networks. It is also possible to easily extend all the components of IP telephony, as the technology uses a single infrastructure for the transfer of data and voice. After the basic configuration of the Internet telephony is done, control system and switches are activated with in-line power supply. Then the IP telephones are connected to the network and the user can make calls. Sometimes the configuration of voice gateways, authorization of users and numbering plan are done by an administrator remotely via a web browser.
Cost-Effective: The biggest advantage is its cost-effectiveness. With the use of this technology, long distance calls can be made at highly reduced prices. It saves a good percentage of the traditional phone bills and these savings can run into millions, when big organizations with huge outflow of telephonic calls are considered.
Scalable: The software oriented nature of IP telephony makes it easily scalable, making it possible to integrate other services and applications as well. Adding a new phone to the already running system of IP telephony doesn't require an additional new line and can be directly incorporated in the system within the existing infrastructure.
Improved Voice Quality: With constant improvement in the VoIP technology, the voice quality of the IP phone has improved tremendously. Until very recently, Internet telephony was widely blamed for poor voice quality and long time delays in transmission. However, with the recent developments, these problems have now been largely eliminated. Nowadays, IP telephony's voice quality is competitive with that offered by its rival PSTN and conventional phone systems. The delay in transmission has been reduced to an acceptable 250 milliseconds or less.
Lower Initial Investment: The installation of new Internet telephony services requires significantly lower investment as compared to traditional PSTN environment. These savings are both in terms of time and money, with the addition of new IP phones to the existing system being cheaper and easier. Because of its dependency on software, the maintenance charges are also not very high and the problems can be easily diagnosed and solved.
Companies and organizations are steadily migrating to IP telephony in order to get quality and cost-efficient service. However, such a transition should be planned and implemented carefully and a competent hardware vendor should be chosen to carry out the whole installation. Although VoIP technology ensures quality communication, a high-speed broadband connection is a necessary prerequisite. Such connections allow users to enjoy the communication of voice, video and data over a single line and at affordable rates.