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Written by
Katy Ratican
23 Aug 2022
4 minutes

IP telephony: What is it and why should businesses use it?

Discover how IP telephony for small businesses can improve productivity and optimise business communication
IP telephony

Telecommunication technology has been rapidly evolving over the last few years and one of the key innovations has been IP (Internet Protocol) telephony. With ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) expiring by 2025, small businesses should explore the possibilities of IP telephony and how they can use it to improve communication, reduce costs and grow their revenue.

This guide to IP telephony will introduce the technology, talk about how it works, explain its benefits and protocols and prove how IP telephony for small businesses is an idea whose time has finally come.

How does IP telephony work?

IP telephony refers to products, technologies and services that use packet-switched connections for voice calls, voicemail, video conferencing, video calling, fax and IM (instant messaging). While conventionally these needed PSTN (public switched telephone network), IP routes them through the internet.

IP works by converting voice calls and other information into digital data packets. These travel through the internet and are decoded at the receiver’s end. The voice feature within IP that includes voice calls and voicemails is called VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol.

VoIP vs IP telephony: What’s the difference?

If you’re considering switching to a VoIP phone for business, it’s good to know the differences between VoIP and IP telephony. They’re used interchangeably because both use a router to connect to the internet and facilitate phone calls and data transmission.

VoIP refers to the technologies that enable calling and voicemail through an IP-based network. In other words, when you talk about VoIP, you would be talking about the ‘voice’ part of it. IP refers to the complete set of technologies, products and features that include both voice and non-voice features.

IP telephony protocols

Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). This is a signalling protocol by which a session between two or more participants is established.

H.323. Having the same functionality as SIP, the H.323 protocol is used for the initiation, termination, and modification of a session.

Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP). This uses a packet format for transmitting video or audio over the internet.

Real-Time Transport Control Protocol (RTCP). Working in tandem with RPT, this protocol controls data delivery on large multicast networks.

Secure Real-time Transport Protocol (SRTP). This protocol adds security elements including confidentiality and message authentication.

Session Description Protocol (SDP). This describes multimedia communication sessions for invitations and session announcements.

IP Telephony benefits

These are some of the benefits of IP telephony that are encouraging more and more businesses to adopt it.

Cost reduction

IP telephony significantly reduces costs both for initial investments and monthly charges. International and long-distance calls are especially lower with IP telephony.

Mobility

Remote working, co-working, hotdesking and hybrid working are here to stay. With IP telephony, your team can use their phone numbers from anywhere as long as they have an internet connection.

Single network

Businesses don’t have to worry about installing, using, maintaining and managing two networks for phones and the internet. This also helps reduce the need for trained personnel.

Unified Communications

IP telephony allows you to use and manage a spectrum of services including voice calls, video calls and video conferencing, all from the same platform.

Scalability

Instead of buying and installing expensive hardware, you can add new telephone lines through an IP telephony provider’s online interface. It’s easier, simpler and faster.

What do I need to use IP telephony?

To use IP telephony, you need a modem and router. This is part of the standard internet setup. You can also use IP telephony over WiFi. All you need to do is download the call software application on a device that’s connected to the internet.

This can be a mobile phone, tablet, desktop or laptop. IP telephony can also be used with VoIP phones.

Switching to VoIP: Save yourself money with Chalkboard

An analysis of VoIP providers will tell you that the technology can save you money, time and effort while improving your team’s productivity. You will also come across free VoIP providers. But as with many things that are deemed ‘free’, there are serious drawbacks – especially when it comes to business features and customer support.

What you need is a VoIP service that’s specifically built for small businesses, independent creatives and startup teams. In other words, a service that understands the communication needs and budget sensitivity of smaller firms. That’s precisely what Chalkboard does.

You can save money on multiple fronts with Chalkboard. There’s no need to buy an additional device, which would be an expensive proposition when you have to do it for your whole team. Download the app on any connected device and you can start using your second line for work. No need to wait for installation and no need to rely on IT experts.

Secondly, Chalkboard’s subscription plans are designed to make it easy for small businesses. You can start by choosing an affordable plan that meets your requirements. There are no long-term binding contracts; you can opt-out or scale up anytime.

With auto-reply, you can send pre-written messages for calls that you might miss. Your team can share their numbers, which will enhance collaboration and improve productivity. By helping you organise your contacts and messages, this virtual number app also helps separate your personal and work lives.

Chalkboard gives you enhanced chat to acquire and retain customers. With group broadcast, there’s no need to individually type out each message. This is how you can get started with conversational marketing for your small business.

Download Chalkboard today and start your free trial. It’s time to use the power of IP telephony to grow your small business.

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