More and more companies are opting for a VoIP telephone system and thus benefiting from numerous advantages such as flexible scalability or maximum flexibility. How do VoIP telephone systems work? what are the differences between on-premise and cloud-based models? and what’s new about IP telephony? Read this guide to find out.
- 1 What Is a VoIP Telephone System?
- 2 How Does The IP PBX Work?
- 3 What Is VoIP or IP Telephony?
- 4 Cloud or On-premise?
- 4.1 For Whom Is a VoIP Telephone System Suitable?
- 4.2 When Is An On-premise And When An On-demand Solution Suitable?
- 4.3 Benefits Of An On-premise Solution
- 4.4 Disadvantages of an on-premise solution
- 4.5 Advantages Of A Cloud Telephone System
- 4.6 Like this:
What Is a VoIP Telephone System?
In a VoIP telephone system, also called IP-PBX, it is a PBX in which no conventional telephone connection is required, but the calls are made via an Internet connection. The voice information is transported in small data packets over a data network instead of the conventional telephone network.
Since the VoIP telephone system uses the data network to connect to the telephones or other IP-capable terminals, telephone cabling at the company premises is no longer necessary. By means of a VoIP gateway, VoIP telephone systems can be connected to traditional telephone lines, which means that the switchover is very easy.
How Does The IP PBX Work?
In the following we will briefly discuss the requirements and the technology of VoIP telephone systems. For the ordinary user, understanding the functionality is not required but may be interesting. However, installation administrators should be familiar with how VoIP works. IP PBXs can be used as a hosted PBX, as a software solution, or as PC-like hardware as an on-premise solution. The following explanations do not refer to a cloud telephone system, as is usually the case, but to a physical VoIP telephone system installed in the company.
For the use of an IP-based hardware PBX, apart from the PBX itself, a sufficiently fast broadband Internet connection such as DSL, IP-capable terminals that support SIP, a SIP trunk and VoIP gateway is required. The VoIP telephone system can be used by means of VoIP-capable hardware telephones (IP telephones) or by means of a software, a so-called SIP client, which acts as a telephone.
A VoIP telephone system consists of one or more VoIP telephones, an IP PBX server and an optional VoIP gateway, via which conventional telephone lines (PSTN lines) can be connected.
Local SIP telephone systems can be connected to the Internet via SIP Trunks and connected via VoIP (SIP) with a Trunking service.
VoIP providers are able to connect any number of voice channels to their customers’ telephone systems via SIP. This makes it possible to receive incoming calls from the SIP Trunking Provider and forward them to the subscribers who are logged on to the telephone system and also to make outgoing telephone calls via the SIP trunking provider.
The IP PBX server can be compared to a proxy server.
In an IP PBX, the phones are no longer plugged into the TAE jack or into an ISDN box or splitter. Instead, they are connected to the DSL router or a VoIP-enabled cable modem, which is connected to the Internet.
The IP phones and employees’ computers are connected directly to the PBX via the corporate network. The SIP protocol is responsible for call origination, termination and connection control, and VoIP (Voice over IP) converts the analog voice signals into digital data packets so that they can be forwarded via the Internet. The SIP protocol ensures that all connected IP terminals can communicate with each other.
The IP PBX has information about all registered phones/users and their SIP addresses. This information is used to connect internal calls or forward outgoing calls using a VoIP gateway or a VoIP provider.
If the call partner does not use IP telephony or another provider, the analog voice signals are fed into the conventional telephone network via a gateway.
Conversion Of An ISDN Telephone System Into An IP Telephone System
From an engineering point of view, an ISDN telephone system can also be connected to the Next Generation Network (NGN) via a SIP PBX connection. The Next Generation Network is a network technology that replaces all traditional telecommunications networks such as telephone networks, cellular networks and cable television networks with a packet-switched network infrastructure.
All services such as telephoning, surfing and television are based on the Internet Protocol and can be offered over a single network.
To connect to the NGN, it is necessary that your existing ISDN PBX is SIP-enabled. If this is not the case, most telephone systems can be connected to the Internet via a media gateway. However, this depends on the provider.
Analog signals are converted into digital signals using a SIP trunk and, if necessary, a media gateway. This allows you to keep your existing ISDN PBX and still benefit from the low connection charges of Internet telephony.
If you later decide to switch to a cloud PBX, the existing SIP trunking can be easily integrated into it. However, since you can only use the benefits of the NGN to a limited extent via SIP trunks, you should consider this option rather as a transitional solution and switch to a telephone system from the cloud in the long term in order to continue all ISDN functions such as “hold”, “transfer”, “Busy” or “Transfer” to use. These are in fact lost in part by SIP trunking.
What Is VoIP or IP Telephony?
VoIP ( Voice Over IP ) and IP telephony (short for Internet Protocol telephony or Internet telephony ), is a technology in which telephone calls are transmitted over a data network. Using VoIP, it is now possible to carry data transmission and telephony over the same network.
This results in many advantages for the network operator as well as for the user, which is why conventional analog and ISDN telephony is becoming increasingly unimportant and will ultimately be completely replaced by VoIP telephony.
In IP telephony, the analog voice signals for transmission on the Internet are converted into digital signals. At the receiver, the individual IP packets are then reassembled as voice information.
For the connection establishment and dismantling the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is used in most cases. In this case, each participant registers with his SIP address at a SIP server. So that a connection can be established, the terminal of the caller turns to the SIP server and gets the IP address of the recipient from there.
There are several ways in which you can make calls over the Internet connection via Voice over IP: Using software, you can use your PC, laptop or smartphone. Another possibility is the use of IP telephones or conventional telephones, which are connected to the router by means of adapters.
If you only make occasional phone calls and do not want to buy IP phones, you can easily make calls using the built-in speakers and microphones on your computer or laptop. For many telephone calls, it is better to use a headset or a telephone.
Regardless of which device you choose, a sufficient broadband Internet connection is required for the use of Internet telephony in order to ensure good voice quality. Here, a guideline value of 100 kbit / s applies per voice channel in up- and download direction.
Cloud or On-premise?
Companies that are interested in a VoIP telephone system are faced with a difficult decision. You can choose between a physical VoIP PBX installed locally at the corporate site or a hosted (virtual) solution provided by a service provider as a cloud service.
Both on-premise and cloud solutions offer benefits. Whether your company chooses to opt for an on-premise or a cloud solution when choosing a VoIP PBX depends on a number of factors such as the network situation, business needs, and your financial situation. In the next few chapters, we will discuss who a VoIP telephone system is generally suitable for and will check different solutions for their advantages and disadvantages.
For Whom Is a VoIP Telephone System Suitable?
Telephone systems for VoIP are basically suitable for all companies that want to be optimally equipped for the Internet age and want to benefit from the maximum flexibility and location independence as well as from the huge range of functions of an IP-based system.
Small and medium-sized companies can take advantage of an IP-PBX just like large companies. Especially for companies in which employees often communicate internally, often adding new employees or there are several company locations, VoIP telephony provides a suitable solution. Because in-house employees can make free calls and realize cost savings in connection charges. However, in some situations, either an on-premise solution or an on-demand solution is beneficial.
When Is An On-premise And When An On-demand Solution Suitable?
For example, if your business location is in a region where ultra-broadband is available, you can always think about a cloud solution.
However, if you are located in a region where there is only an Internet connection with low data transfer rates, it is advisable to use an on-premise solution. To ensure a good voice quality with a cloud telephone system, you need about 100kBit/s per voice channel upload and download speed
However, network operators are continuing to drive the expansion of broadband Internet access, which means that poor data transmission rates will become less common in the future.
The decision for or against an on-premise or on-demand solution depends above all on the size of the company. Especially for small and medium-sized companies, cloud-based solutions are usually better suited than on-premise solutions.
What about on-premise and on-demand solutions and what the pros and cons of each model, we will now explain in more detail.
In an on-premise or in-house solution, the PBX is just like your previous PBX in your company. The telephone system is purchased and then operated in its own network. With the on-premise solution, as a user, you must install and secure the system yourself on your servers.
Benefits Of An On-premise Solution
The following advantages still persuade some providers to rely on an on-premise solution, even if the trend is more on-demand:
- Maintaining full control
With the IP telephone system installed in the field, you have full control over all business-critical data. These remain confidential and will not be disclosed to third parties.
- Simplified integration of in-house solutions
As software maintenance is your responsibility, you can easily integrate existing in-house software solutions, such as CRM systems, into your local PBX system for easier customer service.
- Being your own boss about downtime
As the VoIP telephone system is installed on your servers and you are responsible for any updates and maintenance, you always have the downtime of the telephone system under control. If there is a problem with the Internet connection due to a technical failure, the telephone system will revert to local traditional telephone lines in order to maintain operation.
Disadvantages of an on-premise solution
Costs: Companies that opt for an on-premise solution must expect relatively high initial costs.
- Deployment, Maintenance and On-going
Deployment Costs: There are also costs to deploy your own server infrastructure and a maintenance fee for updates and support. Furthermore, you need trained IT staff.
- Higher effort
With an on-premise model, the user has to expect a higher effort because he himself has to take care of the installation, the protection, updating and maintenance of the SIP telephone system.
In addition, the user must take care of a careful selection of the Internet provider and the routing and firewall equipment, otherwise complications may occur with routers and firewalls of Internet service providers. For example, it may happen that the routers/firewalls do not meet the requirements of the SIP protocol.
- Often not scalable
Many vendors of an on-premise solution do not provide proper scalability, forcing users to do a large costly upgrade.
Why A Cloud Solution Can Be Better?
In a cloud-based solution, unlike an on-premise solution, the telephone system is not installed in-house but is hosted in a data center of the VoIP provider. In the business premises, there is no longer a physical telephone system, but the user is provided with all functionalities of the PBX via the Internet in the public cloud. Therefore, one often speaks of a virtual telephone system.
Cloud PBX systems offer a lot of advantages over traditional PBXs [ISDN and analog] as well as an on-premise solution, which is why they are becoming increasingly popular and convince more and more companies to switch to a hosted cloud PBX. With the following advantages of a cloud telephone system, we want to show you why a cloud solution is better suited in most cases, especially for small and medium-sized businesses.
Advantages Of A Cloud Telephone System
- No additional investment costs
Unlike an on-premise solution, there are no additional costs for a cloud telephone system. Startups and SMEs, in particular, often rely on a cloud-based solution because there are no costs for a telephone system, additional hardware, installation or trained IT personnel on the company side.
The responsibility for providing, maintaining and updating the virtual telephone system lies solely with the provider. As a user, you do not have to worry about anything. All updates are automated.
- Highest possible security
Many companies still have security concerns about cloud PBXs. However, these are completely unfounded, as long as you pay attention to certain criteria when selecting your provider.
Reputable cloud telecommunications providers can offer you the highest possible level of security since the telephone system technology is usually hosted and secured in various high-performance data centers. This gives you the highest 99.999% high availability for most providers.
In addition, continuous security updates of the telephone system are carried out. If the telephone system is installed in your own company, often the same high-security standards cannot be met as with an on-demand solution.
- High level of user-friendliness
No specialist know-how is required for operating a virtual telephone system. All settings can be made via a user interface in the browser. Within a few minutes, the telephone system is set up and you can start calling.
- Flexible Scalability
Being in changing times, high flexibility and scalability play a big role, especially for small businesses. For this, it is important that the telephone system can flexibly adapt to the demands of the company. That’s no problem with a cloud telephone system. It just grows with your business. You can order and unsubscribe from any number and pay only for the extensions that you really need.
- High Mobility
IP PBXs can score above all through their high mobility and flexibility. The VoIP system can be used after setting up from any location and with different devices (smartphone, PC, tablet or phone). Provided the user has an internet connection. This allows you to connect different locations and employees working in the home office to the same telephone system.
If you wish, you can stay connected to your office number at any time using the Fixed Mobile Convergence function worldwide. This ensures that you never miss a call – no matter where you are.
Whether an on-premise or a cloud solution is more suitable for you ultimately depends on your individual needs. Be sure to include factors such as the network situation and the cost/benefit issue in your consideration. If you insist on complete control of the IP PBX and want to take care of the maintenance of the system, then an on-premise solution is probably the right choice for you. However, especially for startups and small and medium-sized enterprises, it is advisable to rely on a cloud telephone system, as this does not involve any investments in hardware and they benefit from the highest possible flexibility. But make sure you have a sufficient broadband Internet connection, as this is essential for the smooth use of the VoIP telephone system.
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