Every VoIP system has 3 basic requirements in order for it to work: The Converter device, The Connection, and The Communication device.
We’ve already covered the question “What is VoIP”, if you need a refresher on that before going through this post.
So what exactly does a VoIP System require in order to work?
Since VoIP is the transmission of your voice over an IP network, there has to be some sort of device that will take your voice and turn it into a digital packet. Traditionally this is going to come in either the form of a microphone connected to your computer, or an IP based phone. A less common converter is an ATA Device, used to take a traditional phone line and convert it for VoIP transmission.
One your voice is converted into digital packets, it doesn’t serve much purpose if it stays on the converter device. In order for VoIP to work, you need some sort of IP based connection in order to transmit those digital packets. In a Hosted Environment, this is usually the public internet that is used as the connection. However, it’s not the only connection method. A private network can also be used, as well as an MPLS. If you call someone within your own office, and the phone call never leaves the building, this can still be considered VoIP.
Now that you have your voice converted into Data packets, and you have a connection to send them across, you now need some sort of device that will actually handle the entire process. This device is used to create connections, send and receive calls, manage the call flow, check for errors, and terminate the call. Sometimes, this will also manage additional features like call routing, voicemails, and music on hold.
In a typical setup the Communication device will either be your computer or a PBX device.
That’s the foundation of what a VoIP system requires in order to fully function.
The placement of these different components is what determines the type of VoIP system you’re using. We cover all of this in our new Ultimate Guide to VoIP – if you’re interested in more, just submit your email to the right. There are even a couple of handy checklists at the end of the guide to help you in your purchasing decision.