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Introduction to Business VoIP Services

introduction to business voip services guide

If you’re wondering how a VoIP business phone service works, you’ve come to the right place. VoIP phones for business can be powerful tools in your communications arsenal, thanks to their flexibility, scalability, and potential cost savings. Here’s a breakdown of what business VoIP is, how it works, its benefits, and the hardware you need to get a system up and running.

What Is Business VoIP?

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, meaning business VoIP is a communications system that transmits voice through the internet. Traditionally, phone systems rely on landlines that transmit voice signals from one connected phone to another. With VoIP, the communication is sent through the internet, which means that as long as the phone is connected online, it can send and receive users’ voices.

What Is the Difference Between Business VoIP and Landline Phones?

A VoIP business phone system uses different technology than a landline phone, resulting in unique infrastructure, costs, features, and scalability.

The tech that drives landline phones involves copper wiring or fiber cables that send voice signals from one point to another.

VoIP is different because all voice data gets sent through the internet. In addition, the devices that send and receive VoIP calls get their data through the internet. This enables greater flexibility.

For example, with a landline phone, either the phone itself or its docking station (in the case of cordless phones) has to be physically connected to the wiring the phone company brings into your business. With VoIP, your phone simply connects to the internet, using the same infrastructure as your computer or other internet-connected device.

Benefits of Business VoIP Services

The additional features you get with business VoIP solutions enable a range of benefits, many of which provide either cost savings or greater efficiency to your business.


A VoIP system gives users unique flexibility because they can use it as long as they have an internet connection. So even if they’re thousands of miles off campus, they can still make and receive calls “in the office.”

For instance, suppose you have a salesperson who has to travel to Canada to meet with a client. At the same time, they’re waiting for an important call from another customer and don’t want to reveal their personal phone number to take the call.

With an internet business phone system, your employee can provide the regular office number and can accept the call in Canada — or at any point along the way — as long as they have an internet connection.

Cost Savings

In many cases, a VoIP call costs less than a traditional landline call. This is especially true when it comes to long-distance calls between different countries. For example, international calls can cost several dollars a minute on some plans. A VoIP call to the same location can cost pennies — or less — depending on your provider.

More Features

With VoIP, you can do things that are either impossible with traditional landline connections. Some of these features include:

  • Automatic call forwarding. With call forwarding, you designate a number to send each call automatically as soon as the system receives it.
  • Integrated voicemail. With a VoIP system, you get voicemail integrated into your solution instead of subscribing to a service or using a machine.
  • Auto-attendants/virtual assistants. A virtual assistant that comes with a VoIP system can provide users with greetings, a range of menu options for callers, call routing, and voicemail.
  • Call recording. Unlike a traditional landline phone, you can use a VoIP system to record calls without attaching extra hardware.
  • Integration with other elements of your communications system. VoIP phones for business can integrate with other facets of your communications solution, such as emailing and texting.

How Does VoIP Work?

VoIP works by representing the sound waves of your voice in the form of data and then transmitting that information over the internet. Here’s how it works, step by step:

  1. The system digitizes the speaker’s voice. A computer process called sampling takes digital snapshots of your voice, but hundreds every second. These get strung together like images in a flip book on the other end.
  2. The data gets organized into packets. This process is referred to as packetization. It involves arranging the data into packets of information that are sent through the internet.
  3. Transmission through the internet. Each data packet gets sent through the internet using Internet Protocol (Hence, the “IP” in “VoIP.”) This means that as long as the receiver is connected to the internet, their device can receive the voice data.
  4. Movement through network routers and switches. The voice data doesn’t go straight from one VoIP phone to another. Rather, routers and switches choose the route it travels while simultaneously identifying the most efficient path.
  5. Reassembly of the voice data packets. The data packets that the digitized voice was separated into then get reassembled and put in the right order. In this way, the beginnings and ends of words arrive in the proper sequence, which makes the communication easy to understand.
  6. The digital voice packets get converted back into an analog audio signal. The speaker of the receiver’s phone or computer outputs this audio, enabling the listener to understand what’s being said.

Of course, this all happens in a second or two — or even less, depending on the network and the path the data has to travel.

Do You Need Any Hardware for Business VoIP to Work?

While you do need hardware to make a VoIP system work, you may already have it on hand. As outlined above, VoIP calls travel through the internet, so a computer is a perfectly capable VoIP device. The same goes for a smartphone or tablet.

You may also need to get a desk phone that’s designed for use with a VoIP system. These may require an Ethernet connection, but some can also work using a Wi-Fi connection.

Connecting Traditional Phones to a VoIP System

You may also need a VoIP gateway if you want to connect your traditional landline to your VoIP system. The VoIP gateway converts the analog audio signal coming through a landline connection to a digital signal that your business VoIP system can transmit over the internet.

As discussed in the section above about how VoIP works, the audio from a landline gets sent through routers and switches the same way normal VoIP audio would. A VoIP-enabled phone or device on the other end then converts the digital information back into an audio signal.

Different Phone Systems for Business

You have several options when it comes to phone systems for business. Depending on your needs, each may have benefits that tip the scale in their favor.

Traditional Landline

A landline transmits a speaker’s voice using electrical signals that get turned back into audio on the other end. With this option, both speakers have to have access to a physical line installed by a phone company, such as AT&T. The costs for international calls may be prohibitive, depending on who your business has to reach out to. Also, with a traditional landline, you don’t have access to the features you get with a digitized system.


Voice is one of the most flexible phone solutions because you aren’t tethered to a landline. Your calls are transmitted using a cloud-based system that enables you to connect with anyone anywhere, as long as they have an internet connection.

You can also combine VoIP with a software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN). This gives you the flexibility to optimize your network communications, perhaps by prioritizing VoIP call data over less business-critical internet traffic.

Mobile Phones

Mobile phones offer some of the same flexibility you get from a VoIP service provider because callers can be separated by several miles or continents.

Unlike VoIP, however, mobile phone service can get extremely expensive, especially when callers are in different countries. Also, with VoIP, you can integrate your calling into a unified communications system, which centralizes your business’s interactions with customers and internal team members.

Unified Communications

With unified communications (UC), you have a single software solution that handles voice calls, messaging, video conferencing, meetings, sharing content, and recording and playing back voicemails. In this way, a UC system is a communications catchall. As long as your team members have a compatible device, such as a computer, cell phone, or tablet, they remain connected with each other.

Learn More About Unified Communications

Explore this helpful deep dive into what is unified communications and why more and more businesses are leveraging this modern communications platform to exponentially boost productivity and collaboration.

How to Choose a Business VoIP Provider

When choosing a business VoIP provider, you want to hone in on a few critical factors, such as:

  1. The reliability of its services
  2. The features you have access to
  3. Its ability to scale with your business
  4. Whether its solution can integrate with the rest of your business communications
  5. The level of security the provider gives you

For many winning businesses, choosing a managed IT services provider to handle VoIP calls provides the best ROI. An experienced managed IT provider has both the infrastructure and the security capabilities to enable a smooth, reliable solution.

Learn How a Managed IT Services Provider Can Help

Check out our guide on managed IT services and how a managed IT services provider can help you implement the best business VoIP services solution.

See how TPx business VoIP services can empower your business. Get in touch with our experts today.

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