Anyone who has looked into using the Internet to make business phone calls has come across the term VoIP. VoIP stands for voice over Internet protocol, and it's a way of saying that instead of using traditional phone lines the user is transporting his or her voice through an IP network, typically the Internet. Another term those who are serious about communicating over the Internet are likely to come across is SIP, and while it and VoIP are definitely related they refer to very different things.
What is SIP?
SIP stands for session initiation protocol, and it is a type of telephony protocol used to create a VoIP session. According to this source SIP is what initiates, connects, monitors, and disconnects a VoIP session. It is, in short, the program that fulfills the role of the telephone switching office (CO) ensuring that your call gets put through to the right place and that you don't get disconnected during your call.
SIP Is Often Free To Use
What confuses a lot of people is that SIP is often completely free to use, and it's free anywhere in the world. Calling features of chat programs like Yahoo! Messenger, or the free-to-use Skype are examples of methods that even common Internet users can take advantage of in order to make free phone calls. It's also possible for users to set up SIP so that it has call forwarding, time-of-day routing, and other features to make SIP even more convenient for those who want to use it for their personal calls.
So Why Does VoIP Cost Money if SIP Use is Free?
This is where a lot of people get confused, and wonder if they're being ripped off. After all if they can use a simple SIP to make all of their calls for free then why are they paying for VoIP telephone service? It's a good question, but not as simple as it seems on the surface. It is possible for someone to set up a system so that they have a phone number that comes through the Internet. If someone is dedicated enough it's quite possible to get an account with a service like Google Voice, set it up to forward to a tablet, computer, or smartphone, and then use that service for free to make and receive all of your phone calls. You can do that, but it isn't easy and it really isn't intended for demanding, consistent high quality, professional business telephone calls.
This is where hosted VoIP phone service comes in. Hosted VoIP service is where a company such as Okanagan Telephone, does all of the heavy lifting to support a businesses IP phones that make calls over the Internet. All of the features mentioned are present, and the user only has to pay a relatively small fee ($15 to $35 a month per device. In addition to this any Hosted PBX provider that has any solid business model will also be providing significant support and input to the end customer site(s) network configuration and Internet bandwidth. Without a properly configured network with adequate Internet bandwidth you will have a miserable VoIP experience!
So in short SIP is a part of every VoIP call, but they are still two, distinct technologies.At a very basic level we can say that a VoIP call will use SIP technology to initiate and control a call. For more information about VoIP and SIP technology simply contact us today!