VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is the technical name for the technology behind Internet telephone service. You may already be familiar with VoIP through such popular platforms as Skype and Google Voice, both of which provide limited free VoIP service. But did you know that you can get VoIP for your home and business telephone service? Lots of people don’t realize that you can use VoIP just like any other landline technology, but VoIP is much less expensive than other telephone technologies.

For example, a standard business VoIP service plan costs in the range of $10 to $20 per extension each month. Compare that with the rates available from some standard providers that might run in the range of $50 or more per line.

So How Does VoIP Work?

Learn about how business VoIP works today!

VoIP is pretty easy to understand once you’ve figured out the basics. This infographic should help you start to see what goes on inside your VoIP service.

If all of that still seems confusing, the basic principle is this: in place of copper wires, VoIP providers use an Internet connection to send phone calls. With traditional telephone service, phone calls are made up of analog data which need to be sent over physical copper wire connections. This requires a fairly complex national telephone infrastructure (called the PSTN, publich switched telephone network) so that packets of analog data can travel from phone to phone.

With VoIP, your phone calls are made up of digital data. It’s easy to send digital data over a long distance without losing any call quality entirely over the Internet. Your VoIP provider uses connections between Internet protocols to transmit the data. This is a cheap and easy mechanism for transporting data, which means that VoIP providers are able to pass their savings on to their residential and business VoIP customers as low monthly fees.

To get VoIP, all you need is an Internet connection. So, once you have your router and modem set up, you can access the Internet through a computer, IP telephone, or analog phone with an analog telephone adapter to make cheap VoIP calls.

Why Should a Small Business Get VoIP?

Any small business stands to benefit greatly from VoIP telephone service.

1.) VoIP is Cost-Effective

For a small office, a hosted PBX VoIP solution could cost as little as $20/month. Cost depends on how many extensions you need, but regardless of the size of your office, VoIP is always cheaper than analog service.

As a business owner, you can choose between a hosted PBX and a SIP trunk. Hosted PBXs are based on cloud technology, and all your to use an office phone system that is based entirely on off-premise systems. A SIP trunking service requires a little bit more technical knowledge as you will need to be able to set up your own in-house IP PBX. SIP trunks are often cheaper than hosted PBXs, but are not as easy and stress-free as hosted PBXs.

Most VoIP providers offer plans with completely unlimited calling in the US, which means no more long distance or out of state fees. And many providers also offer plans with special pricing for international calling. Some providers offer plans specifically for customers that do lots of international calling, while other providers may offer a free hour of international calling every month, or free unlimited minutes to certain destinations.

International minutes are always very cheap with providers, even without special deals. Some calls may be as low as $0.01 to $0.10/minute.

2.) VoIP is Scalable and Customizable

You can get a VoIP solution to fit any office of any size. You can easily add on extensions as you need them, and you can remove them just as easily. If you need to move an extension, you don’t need to worry about having a technician come in and move wires. Just move your phone. It’s as simple as that.

Business VoIP plans have tiered prices; that is, the more extensions you need, the lower your per extension fees become. You can get plans priced for small home offices with just a single line, all the way up through plans priced for corporations.

With some providers, you can also get extensions for mobile and remote employees. With these add-on options, you can keep remote and mobile employees plugged in to the main office PBX so customers and coworkers can still reach them through the main business directory.

Many business VoIP providers also offer special add-ons like IP faxing solutions and IP video conferencing solutions. Choose between special features to get the office phone system that works in exactly the way you want it to.

3.) VoIP is Easy to Use for Any Level of Tech Savvy

Getting VoIP is as easy as choosing a service provider. With hosted VoIP, your provider does all of the work of setting up and maintaining your phone system. If you need to manage settings in your directory, you can do it all through your customer control panel. Otherwise, your phone system will work right out of the box, as soon as you plug your new phone in.