IP telephony is a powerful technology for making calls anywhere in the world saving money over traditional telephony. However it has its disadvantages as well as benefits.
To start with IP telephony you only need to have a computer with internet, download the software that indicates the provider, for example X-Lite softphone, and you will be able to make free calls to all the other people that use the X-Lite softphone.
IP telephony offers prepaid recharges at really convenient prices to make calls to landlines or mobiles all over the world.
What is IP telephony?
IP telephony is a digital telephone service that transmits voice data via the Internet. “IP” stands for “Internet Protocol”. So, unlike conventional analogue telephony, which uses the public switched telephone networks (PSTN), with IP telephony the voice signal travels in digital form over the Internet.
This is very helpful in lowering phone bills, since the cost of the call does not depend on the location of the two participants, but rather the calls are transferred as data packages, within your existing and already paid Internet plan.
Although IP telephony has many advantages, it also has several disadvantages. As such it is important to understand the pros and cons before deciding if IP telephony is a good solution for you.
The advantages of IP telephony
Cost reduction – One of the main advantages of IP telephony is that it means a substantial reduction in the cost of your phone bills, since you will not have to pay for a separate phone line.
There are several different IP phone systems and the amount of money you save usually depends on the service you contract. Some IP phones only allow you to make calls to other IP phones, while other systems allow you to call anyone with any type of phone.
In most cases, making computer-to-computer calls is free; however, you may pay a small monthly fee to be able to call a landline. However, this fee is typically a mere fraction of the cost of regular phone service.
More applications and possibilities – Another strong advantage of IP telephony is the technology behind it, which allows you to transmit video as well as audio, share data and/or applications, receive more than one call on the same line, and convert voice messages into emails.
This means that you can see who you are communicating with; that any collaborative work is made easier by the ability to share files between participants; that you can make conference calls; and that you save time in note taking.
Portability – IP telephones are very practical for businesses because they are so portable. A business or an employee can move the phone wherever they want and retain the same number – whether it’s to another office in the building, another company location or the employee’s home.
The disadvantages of IP telephony
Sound quality – one of the biggest disadvantages of IP telephony is that sound quality can be impaired depending on the speed and quality of your internet connection.
This is because of the above-mentioned way that IP telephony works – through an IP network. Therefore, if any interference occurs on your network, your connection can drop the voice data packets it sends, which makes your voice sound distorted and electronic.
Power outages – Another problem you may face when using IP telephony is that if your power goes out, your phone will also stop working, since it connects to – and receives its power source from – your computer.
While a traditional phone will work perfectly during a power outage, an IP phone needs electricity and the Internet to work.
Latency – Because IP phones share bandwidth with computers, overuse of one can affect the quality of service of the other.
The arrival of excessive traffic to a website hosted on the computer can cause delays or cuts in the conversation – which is known as latency.
Although IP telephony has truly advantageous financial benefits, it also carries a risk of disadvantages that are not minor.
For example, if there is a power outage and you cannot be called for several hours, would the savings made on the phone bill cover the loss of new customers who could not contact you to sign up for your services?
When deciding if IP telephony is the right option for you and your project, it is very important to consider the pros and cons associated with the use and installation.
However, if you believe that the savings far outweigh the risks, then you would most likely benefit from an IP phone.