How Does a Hosted VoIP System Work?
Comparing E-Mail and the Telephone
At first glance, there doesn't seem to be much in common with a technology like e-mail and the telephone system that we use every day. Sure, we both use them for communicating with each other but the mechanics and the use case scenarios are entirely different. With e-mail for example we have to wait for perhaps a few minutes or even longer to receive a message whereas with the telephone system, we can communicate with each other in real time. And of course the major difference is that e-mail is primarily textbased whereas the PSTN system is based on audio. How then, can we compare these two systems?
The answer lies in the fact that both these technologies operates as services. To deliver the services we rely on a third party. With e-mail, most of us use the products offered by the likes of Google and Yahoo! and when we use the PSTN system we use the products and services provided by companies like AT&T and Verizon. We as customers merely have the "clients" at our end. All the heavy lifting is done by hardware sitting elsewhere. In other words, the PSTN system is nothing but a "hosted" environment. Just like e-mail. No actual work is done at the customer's end.
How SIP Providers Work
With hosted VoIP, the provider of the service is called an SIP provider. Instead of the telephone company receiving and routing your calls, your they are responsible for communicating with your VoIP client and ensuring that you have a seamless experience. Your ITSP or Internet Telephony Service Provider will provide you with the telephone number that you can give out to those who wish to call you. The users at the other end of your VoIP system will have no idea that you're using anything different from a traditional PSTN line. In other words, they will be abstracted from the details. Calls made your telephone number will reach your SIP provider who will then routes them to you – or more specifically, to the VoIP client you have installed on your smart phone, your PC or to your dedicated VoIP phone.
If you're using a mobile phone, make sure that you're not restricted by onerous mobile data caps which can inhibit your VoIP experience. Given the great advantages of hosted VoIP systems, many businesses are starting to replace their traditional PSTN lines for the cost savings and features of VoIP. Each business is different. Contact your ITSP to find out how you can get started in less than 15 min.