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How Hosted PBX VoIP Works

Updated on March 29, 2012

VoIP over a Hosted Connection

It can be difficult to understand how a customer or business can move to a VoIP connection which is hosted remotely. For a lot of people when they think about VoIP, they think of a client installed on their PC like Skype which they use to call others on the same service. But such a system is woefully inadequate for the needs of a business. For better or for worse, most customers use the traditional PSTN system and until and unless a business can deal with them transparently in the way that they are used to, the communication system is a failure. Because of this, a professional VoIP system needs to have the following features:

1. It must be able to connect to any telephone number in the world

2. It should be reachable by telephone number and have the same displayed as caller ID on outgoing calls.

A hosted VoIP system incorporates these features by trying to make it more like e-mail rather than a telephone system. It's just that the telephone number becomes the e-mail address. So just like an e-mail provider, we have a VoIP provider or an SIP provider. The telephone number when dialed by a third-party rings the SIP provider who then routes the call over the Internet to the customer.

Hosted VoIP
Hosted VoIP

Completing the Connection

The customer has to have an SIP client installed on their device. If it is a PC or smartphone, this will be an application which can be downloaded. It can be a standardized application just like an e-mail client or it can be an application specifically designed to work with the particular SIP provider instead. If you're using a VoIP phone, it will come with the VoIP client already built into it so that you don't have to do anything. The SIP provider and the VoIP client communicate with each other and thereby complete the connection between the caller and yourself.

All this takes place very quickly and transparently. One of the great benefits is that you can make free calls and receive free calls from any telephone number which belongs to the same service provider. Indeed, efforts are underway to make any two calls between any two VoIP providers free provided they subscribe to a standardized ENUM database which maps telephone numbers to SIP addresses. But the nonparticipation of several large players like Vonage renders such a system woefully incomplete.

Make sure that when you order your business VoIP phone system, you choose one that operates on open SIP standards. That way your business phone services will be able to interoperate with other standardized services in the future.


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