With the ever-growing vocabulary of our world’s vastly expanding information highway, some terms become lost, skewed, or incorrectly defined. Let’s take the acronym VoIP for example. Even if we know that it stands for “Voice Over Internet Protocol,” we might not truly understand when it is taking place. During our trainings and teaching sessions, we find that some ideas and concepts are lost in the mix.
Voice Over Internet Protocol is a way to send information more efficiently over a network. Using a “local area network” or “LAN,” both data and voice can be sent over a single Ethernet cable. This eliminates the need for additional runs back to the switch room which reduces costs for the customer. Through the use of VLANs the voice and data traffic is properly separated in order to prioritize voice at all times.
Some companies, like Skype or Vonage, utilize VoIP technology over their “wide area network” (or “WAN’), meaning their customers’ voice calls actually traverse the public Internet. This can be a simple and efficient way of placing a phone call on the run, however this design frequently leads to degraded call quality and reliability issues.
When considering our EarthLink Business Hosted Voice solution, it is important to understand the superior call quality and reliability that we are able to provide. With this business VoIP product, the customer receives a dedicated voice and data SIP circuit that is terminated at the customer’s location. When a call is made, the call travels over EarthLink’s private proprietary network until it is directly handed off to the PSTN. Because we own the entire leg of the call, we are able to guarantee QoS and superior call quality. Most companies claim to utilize QoS, but few can truly guarantee it. There are also several advantages to a SIP circuit over a traditional PRI, which I’ll write about in a future article!