A complete guide to IP telephony

In this blog, we will provide a full guide to understanding IP telephony, from how it works to its benefits, requirements and challenges, as well as a direct comparison between IP telephony and VoIP.

What is IP telephony?

In its simplest form, IP (Internet Protocol) telephony refers to a phone system that uses a connection to the internet to either send or receive voice data.

While IP telephony was only introduced to the market in 1995, today most carriers are using the technology to provide the majority of their services. 

How does IP technology work?

In contrast to standard telephone systems, which use landlines to transmit analogue signals rather than digital ones, IP telephony connects to the internet.

IP telephony works through a process of translating users’ analogue voice data into digital data – this is achieved using another technology referred to as Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).

This involves a process of scanning and identifying speakers’ voices and, once the transformation has taken place, the signal is transmitted through what is called a ‘broad line’ in digital format – replicating the way a traditional landline phone conversation works.

Finally, this voice data is then directed in and then out of the network via an IP system, before being transferred directly into the internet connection.

Benefits of IP telephony

There are numerous benefits to using IP telephony over traditional phone systems, including scalability, flexibility and cost-savings.

1. Cost reduction compared to landline

One major benefit to businesses choosing to use IP telephony over traditional landline telephone systems is a reduction in the overall cost required to run the network.

Because organisations need only use an internet connection to make calls to and communicate with customers, they are able to dramatically lower their operational spending.

What’s more, these costs are often more predictable and consistent compared to analogue solutions which rely on telephone network providers’ prices. In fact, using an IP solution compared to a business landline plan can save on costs by up to 60%.

2. Scalable and future-proof

Since IP telephony has far fewer restrictions than analogue systems, it makes scaling your business’ line much easier.

IP telephony gives businesses full flexibility, allowing the organisation to add or remove lines as necessary simply and quickly with no added cost – so wherever your business is headed, your telephone system can handle it.

What’s more, no additional technical skill is required in doing so, as lines can be managed, added or removed easily via a simple online interface.

3. Remote work capability

With so many individuals and organisations now at least partially (if not fully) remote, the lack of an office need not hinder our ability to work effectively. IP telephony allows for workers to efficiently work remotely as there is no requirement for physical hardware.

As well as convenience, this flexibility means that workers and businesses are no longer tied to a single location, allowing for easier growth, hiring and communication across the board.

4. Higher call quality

Because it is connected to the internet, using IP telephony means workers can enjoy much higher call quality on average than those using analogue systems.

Many systems, including our own, offer users crystal clear HD audio quality, meaning work can be done more easily and efficiently no matter what it is.

5. Advanced, modern features

When it comes to added features and capabilities, physical telephone systems have many limitations relative to IP telephony technology.

When using IP telephony, users can take advantage of a host of rich collaboration tools and features, including, but not limited to: video and audio conferencing, automatic call recording and automatic call back.

Thanks to rapid increases in the sophistication of telephone systems in recent years, very little is needed for your business to switch to IP telephony technology.

What are the requirements of IP telephony?

Thanks to rapid increases in the sophistication of telephone systems in recent years, very little is needed for your business to switch to IP telephony technology.

While these factors will depend to some extent on the size of your organisation and how much data you expect it to use, the only basic requirements are a reliable and fast internet connection and dedicated IP phones supplied by BT Business.

For a full list of further considerations to keep in mind as you make your decision, you can visit the dedicated FAQ section on our website.

IP telephony vs VoIP

You might find yourself wondering if there is any difference between IP telephony and VoIP systems. The terms IP telephony and VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) are often used interchangeably. However, there is a subtle difference worth bearing in mind.

Although both use the same means to connect to the internet – a LAN (Local Area Network) – VoIP technology refers exclusively to a system designed to transfer voice signals from analogue to digital and transport those signals using the internet.

In other words, IP telephony is a concept under which VoIP systems sit as a subcategory.

What are the challenges of IP telephony?

The main challenge users and organisations might face from implementing IP telephony systems is that the quality of service is entirely dependent on the strength of the internet connection the technology uses.

A second obstacle that can present itself with IP telephony is the fact that not all internet providers have a secure network, which can present a challenge.

Luckily, both issues can be easily resolved by taking the right steps at the start of the switching process to ensure that the provider you choose and the set-up you have are suitable for the requirements listed above.

Improve your IP communication with BT Business

Whatever your business and its priorities, it’s important to invest in the phone system that best fits your needs. With BT Business, you will benefit from local expertise and outstanding service, and our advisers can help you come to the right decision.

As the UK’s leading provider of phone systems, we pride ourselves on providing a personal touch and are committed to getting to know your business and the challenges you face.

See more information on the options available.