Welcome to BusinessPhonesCalgary.com – we provide information regarding business phone installations and maintenance, AND we have a professional installer that can have a state-of-the-art phone system installed for you.
Below we have some introductory information if you are not familiar with business phone systems yet. Enjoy!!
The Basics of Business Phone Systems
Here is a quick and basic bit of information regarding VOIP (voice over Internet protocol) business phone systems, their advantages, disadvantages, and business communication applications.
First we need to fully understand what at VOIP office phone system IS, and how it can be used for your business. First thing we need to look at is the technology that makes VOIP possible in the first place.
Understanding the ATA (Analogue Telephone Adaptors)
History of Analogue-to-Digital Audio Conversion
Without the use of an ATA VOIP telephony would not even be possible. This technology is the key factor in making voice over Internet protocol a reality. What the analogue telephone adaptor does is quite simple in theory, yet the technology was somewhat a revolution back in the days of 1994. It was in 1994-1995 that analogue to digital conversion for the use of telephones was in it’s infancy stage.
Of course the technology was being introduced in MANY different fields, but the music business is where we saw the earliest advancements. Why? Because the music industry was grappling with analogue to digital conversion early on, and they HAD to have pristine quality. Of course the companies in the telephone industry wanted the same high quality, but they came later.
Arguably, the dawn of high quality analogue-to-digital conversion would be when companies like Apogee began research in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Later they introduced ground-breaking, high-end A/D conversion, in their state-of-the art mixing consoles for recording studios.
Most laymen believe that is was Cisco and Nortel that were the pioneers of VOIP systems, but these companies did not invent the science behind the actual analogue sound to digital packet conversion. Nortel and Cisco were the companies that helped commercialize VOIP phone systems for the masses.
History of VOIP (Broadband Phone Service) Technology
The first company to ever introduce the Internet Phone was called VocalTec (creators of MagicJack) and the inventors were Alon Cohen and Lior Haramaty (co-founders of VocalTec Ltd.). VocalTec’s initial head offices were based in Netanya, Isreal, and they have a base of operations now in West Palm Beach Florida.
Unfortunately, back in these early days of the Internet (1994-1996) there wasn’t enough broadband resources to make Vocaltec’s Internet Phone (as they called it) a flourishing product/service. Broadband services have improved of course since 1995, and now we see VOIP in all areas of the market – Skype is one you may have heard of, and Vonage may be another company you might be aware of ;-))
For “techies” reading, it should be noted that the first Internet Phone invented by Cohen, and Lior used the H.323 protocol. Later the so-called SIP (session initiation protocol) became the standard.
Modern Day ATA (Analogue Telephone Adaptors)
ATA boxes look very much like a typical or modem box on first glance, but their function is completely different – their sole function is to convert a human voice into a digital signal via packet form.
All voice over Internet protocol systems use this technology now, albeit they are in different “boxes”. This picture basically shows a “standalone” ATA but your average home computer acts as an ATA when plug in a headset and talk over Skype to a friend, relative, or business associate.
It’s estimated (and extrapolated) now that Skype have over 250 million users daily using their VOIP technology.
Now that we have discussed the root technology that makes VOIP possible, we can discuss the modern-day VOIP phone systems and how they are used by more and more companies around the world, and yes, in Calgary as well 😉
Complete VOIP Phone System Overview
Of course with full office system, used by a dozens of employees there are more phones, bigger ATA boxes (more ports in and out), bigger routers and higher-end cable/DSL modems – BUT, this gives you a full understanding of a typical VOIP system.
To the average office worker nothing appears to be any different at their station and vantage point. They see phone like any other phone, and they use these phones like any other phone. But in reality, the technology is nothing like what it “used to be”.
These phones are called IP phones, or (you guessed it), “Internet Protocol Phones” and they don’t work the same way as the typical analogue phone works.
The IP Phone (AKA VOIP Phone or SIP Phone)
The modern-day Internet protocol phone is usually referred to as;
- IP phone
- VOIP phone
- Internet phone
- SIP phone
SIP phones come as “hardware IP phones” or they can be sometimes “USB IP phones”, and they are used like any analogue phone. Generally they can look just like any typical analogue phone, but their internal technology, wiring and circuitry is different. An IP phone is manufactured for the sole purpose of sending a user’s vocal speech to an ATA unit for digital conversion, and then into the router/modem and off into the network.
Pros and Cons of VOIP Office Phone Systems
- cheaper installation
- less wiring
- more phones – higher capacity
- desktop computer applications
- more efficient dispatch applications
- pure web-based capabilities
- mobile applications
- easier upgrades
- bandwidth efficiency
- sound quality can sometimes be inferiour (latency issues)
- redundancy (e.g. power outages)
- possible security disadvantage (ask your provider)
The advantages seem to outweigh the disadvantages, but making a choice between a VOIP phone system for your business office(s), and standard analogue phone system may come down to the size of your company, how many employees, the building logistics, etc.