IP Telephony, or Voice over IP (VoIP) utilizes industry standard IP Ethernet (data) switching, routing & cabling - thereby reducing the infrastructure investment necessary to implement and maintain a telephone network. In the past, traditional (TDM) telephone systems were entirely proprietary and seperate from the data network, resulting in costly maintenance and danger of the investment being lost to obscolecense.
The case for VoIP
VoIP brings with it many advantages that any business executive or IT professional cannot ignore:
1. Substantial capital investment savings realized by convergence (sharing) of the data network. In the past, an entirely seperate infrastructure had to be set up for the telephone system, including cabling, distribution electronics and adsministration terminals. With the advent of VoIP, telephones can now share this infrastructure with the data network in part or in whole.
2. Open source software. In the past, all telephone systems utilized completely proprietary operating systems, running on proprietary hardware. This left the end user completely at the mercy of the system manufacturer, and to a certain extent - the vendor providing maintenance services, and worse - investment protection was practically non-existent in the advent that the manufacturer decided to discontinue the proprietary platform the customer invested in. With VoIP technology, systems are run on industry standard Windows and LINUX operating systems, utilizing industry standard ethernet switching and routing hardware.
3. Meaningful savings introduced through more efficient maintenance and administration. Most distribution of the telephone system is moved to the data network, therefore redundant expenditures on infrastructure maintenance are reduced. Administration and monitoring of the VoIP system can be done via the data network , increasing productivity of administration personnel.
4. Most importantly, VoIP increases productivity.VoIP enables voice communications to be pushed into all aspects of the data network and even mobile phones. This phenomenon is termed as Unified Communications (UC), and permits businesses engage in voice communications anytime, anywhere. Phone tag, disconnection from the office while in the field, and the inability to communicate in real time regardless of location are all now a thing of the past thanks to converged technology.