by The AT&T Business Editorial Team
Forget copper wires and handsets. Today you can make phone calls anytime, anywhere using an Internet-connected computer, a headset, and voice over IP (VoIP).
VoIP is the technology that converts your voice into a digital signal, allowing you to make a call directly from a computer, a VoIP phone, or other data-driven devices. Simply put, it’s phone service delivered over the internet. You may also hear it referred to as IP telephony, internet telephony, broadband telephony, or broadband phone service.
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The way it works
VoIP technology enables traditional telephony services to operate over computer networks using packet-switched protocols. Packet-switched VoIP puts voice signals into packets, similar to an electronic envelope. VoIP packets can be transmitted over any VoIP-compatible network, such as a local area network (LAN).
Not your ordinary telephone service
Because VoIP uses packets, much more information can be carried over the network to support and enhance your communication needs.
In addition to traditional voice services, VoIP gives you access to advanced applications that can potentially help your staff be more agile and productive. VoIP solutions aimed at businesses have evolved into unified communications services that treat all communications—phone calls, faxes, voice mail, email, web conferences, and more—as discrete units that can all be delivered via any means and to any handset, including cell phones.
The bottom line
Switching to VoIP might also help you save money on communications services. Long-distance and international calls are generally free with VoIP service. The only charge is for your internet access.
Implementing VoIP doesn’t mean that all your employees have to use IP-enabled phones. The best VoIP providers implement IP telephony in a manner that protects your investment in existing telephone equipment, even if you have analog telephone stations.
Learn more about the communications possibilities that VoIP can open up for your business with AT&T Business VoIP solutions.