What is Voice over IP? The Basics

What Is an IP Phone?

Walk through the basics of IP phones in this quick video segment. (2:08 min)

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What Is an IP Phone?

Walk through the basics of IP phones in this quick video segment. (2:08 min)

What is voice over IP? How is it different from unified communications? And how can it help your small business?

What is Voice over IP?

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology lets you use the Internet to make and receive telephone calls.

What is Voice over IP?: The Range of Services

VoIP is available in a wide range of services. Some basic, free VoIP services require all parties to be at their computers to make or receive calls. Others let you call from a traditional telephone handset or even a cell phone to any other phone.

What is Voice over IP?: Equipment

For VoIP, you need a broadband Internet connection, plus a traditional phone and an adapter; a VoIP-enabled phone; or VoIP software on your computer.

What is Voice over IP?: Security and Service Quality

Most consumer VoIP services use the Internet for phone calls. But many small businesses are using VoIP and unified communications on their private networks. That's because private networks provide stronger security and service quality than the public Internet.

What is Voice over IP?: Versus Unified Communications

Unified communications systems offer more features and benefits than VoIP, yet many are still priced for small businesses. Unified communications brings together all forms of communication regardless of location, time or device. Faxes, e-mail, and voicemail are all delivered to a single inbox. You can integrate your phone and customer relationship management (CRM) systems to improve your customer service, and much more.

What is Voice over IP?: The Benefits

VoIP and unified communications enable you to:

  • Reduce travel and training costs, thanks to web and video conferencing
  • Easily grow your phone system as needed
  • Have one phone number ring simultaneously on multiple devices, helping employees stay connected to each other and to customers
  • Reduce your phone charges
  • Have a single network for voice and data, simplifying management and reducing costs
  • Access your phone system's features at home or at client offices, in airports and hotels—anywhere you've got a broadband connection

Learn how Cisco Unified Communications can help your small business.

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