When Protecom opened for business in 1973, the technology for processing telephone
calls was electro-mechanical. In the 1980's, the technology moved to electronic analog.
In the 1990's digital technology became the standard. Now the technology, still digital,
is embracing the internet protocol; thus, we have Voice Over the Internet Protocol ( VOIP ).
Very simply this means a voice call can be transmitted over the internet in the same way
that E-mail is transmitted. The primary benefit to the user of this technology is efficiency.
Prior to this development calls were connected and transmitted over circuits which were dedicated
to a call for the duration of the call. Only one call at a time could be transmitted over these circuits.
With VOIP the call is routed over a network by converting the call into data packets and transmitted over
a network that is not dedicated to one call, therefore allowing many different calls to be transmitted over
the same network simultaneously. One example we now see is the ability of the cable television companies
using their digital cable networks to deliver television programs, internet access, and telephone services
to their customers over a common network.
While the public internet is not currently able to deliver the same quality as the traditional public circuit
switched telephone network, this will change as the internet continues to develop and matures for the purpose
of transmitting voice calls. For businesses that have a private data network allowing for the total control
over bandwidth allocation this private network can be configured to provide excellent quality for VOIP. Simply
put one network can be used to carry both voice and data resulting in a reduction of the cost to move voice
and data communications throughout the enterprise.
Imagine being able to allow a worker doing a job out of an office in the home to have a telephone at home
connected to the office system over the internet and having the same functionality as if the worker were at a
desk in the business office. Or, take the case of an outside sales representative having a telephone connected
to the office over the internet from a hotel room and having the same functionality as in the office. While the
internet is not perfected today for these examples in many cases the quality is acceptable.
In conclusion, like analog and digital developments, VOIP brings many new capabilities today and promises to
bring many more benefits to the users of telecommunications services in the future.