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What do I need to use VoIP?

What do I need to use VoIP?

If you have found this article, you probably have been reading our blog and, by now, know what VoIP is. There is a lot of information online about the system and how it works, the benefits it offers to its users and how it outweighs traditional landline phone systems in many different ways.

This article is different. The intention is to talk about the requirement of VoIP. If you have been asking yourself: what do I need to make voip calls? This article is for you, as the goal is to be objective and explain what is necessary to make the system work. 

So you can find out what you need to use VoIP, you need to know which type of device you want to use, an VoIP phone, or an analogue phone.

 

  

 

What is an analogue telephone adapter?

Analogue phone is the traditional phone that you probably have been using in your household at the moment. It is designed to work on traditional landline telecommunication services. However, the good news is you can still connect that device to a VoIP system, all you need is an analogue telephone adaptor. They are also called ATA.

What an ATA does is to convert the analogue signal that your traditional phone generates into a digital signal. Once the signal is digital, it can be managed on the internet. All you have to do is connect the cord from your phone into the analogue telephone adaptor. Then the ATA is connected to your internet router or modem. Some adaptors have an internal router. If it is the case, you do not even need a router to make it work. It is that simple!


IP Phone Device

IP Phones (or VoIP phones) are normal phones, with one big difference: they have been designed to work on the internet only; so instead of having a normal wall jack connector, you have to plug the IP phone directly on the internet router. Using an IP phone, you do not need an ATA (analogue telephone adaptor), as it is built-in in the phone.

Even though IP phones look very similar to a traditional landline phone, they traditionally have many extra features, such as video calls, calls on hold, sending and receiving text, and so many more.

 

VoIP on smartphones or computers

VoIP being an internet based system, it is also possible to use VoIP by using a smartphone, or a PC. This is more suitable to single individuals, rather than corporations or even families, as smartphones and computers are personal items. However, it is important to explain how it works here, so you can have a comprehensive understanding of VoIP.

Nowadays there are many apps capable of making phone calls using the internet. Viber, Facebook Messenger, Skype, WhatsApp, and many other more. It is likely that you know most of these apps already but never realized they are a VoIP communication system. 

So, what do you need to use VoIP on the smartphone or computer? Well, the answer is pretty simple, you need a phone or PC connected to the internet. You also need to download the app to your device and you will be all set to use VoIP. 

 

What internet speed is required for VoIP?

Now that we have explained the hardware you need to use VoIP; it is time to talk about internet requirements to make VoIP work. When discussing hardware, it is quite simple to understand what is needed. You will have a handful of devices (phone, router, ATA and etc) and when you have them all and connect them properly, you know the system is going to work from the hardware point of view. However, when you are looking into internet requirements, it might not be that clear.

The term “internet speed” cannot be simplified if you want to understand what the requirements are for VoIP. This must be broken down in four different very important aspects of the internet connection: bandwidth, latency, data prioritization and type of connection. Let’s have a look at each one of them.

 

Network Bandwidth

Bandwidth is the amount of data transferred from one point to another in a network in a given specific amount of time. Basically, bandwidth is defined as a bitrate and it can be measured in bits per second (bps).

Bandwidth is the transmission capacity of a connection and is a very important factor when determining the quality and speed of a network or the internet connection

Although bandwidth is important, VoiP does not use as much bandwidth as you may expect. On average, 100 Kbps (or 0.1 Mbps) per line of voice service. So if you have 5 phones in your VoIP system, you need only 500 kbps. With the NBN in Australia, usually the bandwidth starts from 25 Mbps (million bits), which is way more and a VoIP phone needs. Just bear in mind that you probably use the internet for many other applications and not only VoIP. The bandwidth will be used for all these applications. It brings us to the next topic: data prioritization.

The bandwidth required will depend upon how many simultaneous calls the system has. The table below shows the minimum bandwidth required.

 

Number of Concurrent Calls Minimum Required Bandwidth Recommended speed
1 100 Kbps Up and Down 3 MBps Up and Down
3 300 Kbps Up and Down 3 MBps Up and Down
5 500 Kbps Up and Down 5 MBps Up and Down
10 1 MBps Up and Down 5-10 MBps Up and Down

 

 

Data Prioritization

Each activity you perform on the internet will consume a different amount of data. High-traffic activities, such as video conferencing, transfer of files, YouTube videos and etc, will require more data. 

It is possible to set up your router to optimize voice traffic on the network, this way the VoIP system will be a high priority in your network hierarchy, even though technically it does not require a great amount of data. The main benefit of this is to always have sufficient data available for the VoIP system.

This is not a straight forward option in standard routers. It is advised that you contact a VoIP system provider to get this done properly. 

 

Latency

Latency is the delay between a user’s action and a web application’s response to that action, often referred to in networking terms as the total round trip time it takes for a data packet to travel.

It does not matter how fast and responsive the network is, latency is impossible to be avoided. It is measured in milliseconds, so the delay will be minimum in stable and fast connections. A reliable internet connection provides a high quality VoIP system, as the latency will be very low.

 

Type of Connection

There are two types of connections: wired and wi-fi. Wired networks are generally much faster than wireless one. A wired network is also faster because it is not impacted by unexpected or unnecessary traffic. Unauthorised users cannot connect to the network unless their devices are connected using an Ethernet cable.

Although WiFi may work for some users, it is not reliable to support a heavy VoIP system with many voice callers connected to it. Besides, to use features like video conferencing, file transfer and other high traffic activities on VoIP, you need a reliable connection. For this reason, using VoIP in a WiF connection it is not recommended.

VoIP devices are equipped with Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches. This allows users to connect data and power using just one cable. So you do not need an extra cable to connect the VoIP phone to the router. One cable does it all.

 

What is a VoIP service provider? Do you need one?

VoIP service provider is the business that facilitates the use of VoIP systems for a company or a residence. They will offer VoIP service as a package, being able to supply the hardware and software necessary for VoIP. Theoretically a VoIP provider is not necessary, as you can buy all the gear you need yourself and connect it together. However, you will not have a VoIP number.

VoIP number looks like a normal telephone number, but it is an internet based number. If you are a business, you definitely want to have your contact number out there, so the customers can call you. The only way of having a VoIP number is through a VoIP service provider. Besides, it just makes sense to outsource VoIP provider services to help you to manage your VoIP system. They are specialists in VoIP and will be able to resolve problems and provide a reliable telecommunication service for the business.

VoIP service providers are not exclusive for corporate customers. Many companies are specialised in residential customers. You can get a VoIP number (that looks like a traditional local number) and have all the benefits VoIP has to offer. Some companies have basic plans for residential customers from $10 a month!

Conclusion

VoIP is here to stay. Its low cost, high quality calls and many different features make it irresistible not to use it. Now you know what you need to start using VoIP. Before starting to gearing up your company or household with VoIP devices. Think about what is important to you, what you want to get from the system, and then start planning one that suits your needs.


TecnoTools has a comprehensive range of VoIP phones, handsets, adaptors and other accessories to make the transition from traditional landline to VoIP a smooth process. Do not hesitate to contact us if you need any assistance.

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