In my day-to-day role, the most common question for people considering a new business telephone system in the San Francisco Bay Area is, “what is Internet Telephony and why is it important to me?” This question comes in many forms with customers using similar terms such as VoIP, Internet calling, and more.
What is Internet Telephony?
Simply put, Internet Telephony is placing phone calls on a data network. In the days before the convergence of voice and data, phone calls were made on a separate network dedicated to voice. In the office, data traveled on special cable designed for data and voice worked on a completely separate cable. In the connection to the outside world, voice connected to dedicated circuits, such as analog lines and digital lines known as PRI. For a data connection to the outside world, businesses typically used DSL, T1 and increasingly cable circuits.
Now with Internet Telephony, voice and data can be converged onto the data network and the old voice network is eliminated.
Top 5 Benefits of Internet Telephony
- Internet Telephony does away with separate voice and data cabling
- You can eliminate the cost of dedicated voice circuits
- Phone calls on the data network are less expensive
- Administration is much easier
- Remote users can be connected to the phone system
If the above reasons are not compelling enough, one must also consider that the telephone companies are getting out of the voice business. They too enjoy many benefits by transporting voice over data circuits. So, expect to see your monthly phone bill continue to go up if you remain on traditional voice circuits.
So, Internet Telephony isn’t about the future, it’s about now. It is estimated that nearly 80% of small businesses will be using the technology by 2015.