Voice Over IP Explainer

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
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Internet calling is older than you may think. It began in the early 1970s, but did not start to breakthrough until the mid 1990s—and it was not until the introduction of Skype in the early 2000s when it was more widely adopted.

The definitive choice for audio or phone service is now—and has been—VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol. This is the primary method for businesses and consumers use to communicate, and with many benefits, features, and cost-savings, VoIP is a powerful tool in today’s world. 

Most people do not realize they have a VoIP system in their home, but this has been the method used by providers for years. This will take your phone calls and route them over the internet using Ethernet cables or even Wi-Fi. Many cellular telephones even take advantage of this technology using connected Wi-Fi networks to transmit calls—this is especially useful when cellular reception is poor at home or in the office. Additionally, many gamers have utilized VoIP since the early 2000s with the introduction of Xbox Live.

A VoIP system not only facilitates calls and routing, but it provides many other features such as auto attendants, voicemail, and call forwarding. When used in a commercial environment or business, it will provide features beyond the ability of older analog systems, and at a fraction of the cost. 

One of the best features, many will argue, is the extended audio bandwidth of calls versus the traditional analog lines allowing for a much higher and more noticeable quality of sound. However, the primary downside to VoIP is the requirement of a high-speed internet connection, which is not available to all—especially in rural areas.

Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is often confused with VoIP. The main thing to know is that SIP is the protocol behind VoIP—it is similar to SMTP and email.  

In a simplistic explanation, SIP gives a device such as a phone an address or a unique identity to allow for calling using VoIP. Similar to email, by having a SIP address, login credentials, and internet, you can login from about anywhere. In today’s environment, a VoIP system is ideal for business as it will allow for a remote home office with easy setup.  

In a modern business environment VoIP, along with other tools, can bring a secure unified communications platform to any workplace. The ability to have one number ring multiple devices, link video meetings, utilize mobile or desktop applications, and simplified conference calling are all made possible because of VoIP technology. Many businesses find VoIP easier to manage as a part of one larger network where phone extensions can be easily added, moved, or changed.

Jeremy Caldera, CTS-D, CTS-I

Jeremy Caldera, CTS-D, CTS-I is an expert in the professional audiovisual industry with over 25 years of experience. Currently a senior vice president of audiovisual technology at Pearl Technology, a leader in AV and IT services based in Peoria, IL, Caldera specializes in the planning and design of audiovisual systems, organizational management, employee motivation, and the development of corporate standards and business growth strategies. Caldera is also a partner at BNCO Consulting and Top Shelf Digital Media.

Caldera is passionate about sharing his knowledge with others. He worked with his alma mater, Columbia College, to form a partnership with the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association (AVIXA) to develop an Audiovisual Systems Integration concentration within the college’s Audio Arts and Acoustics department. This partnership served as a model for what is now a major tenant of the AVIXA Foundation, which provides access to skills education, career pathways, and hands-on experiences to inspire the next generation of leaders in AV.

Caldera is an active volunteer both within the pro AV industry and his community. He previously served as the chair of AVIXA’s Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) Certification Program where he oversaw the development and administration of CTS, CTS-D, and CTS-I certifications. From 2017 to 2019, Caldera was a member of AVIXA’s Leadership Search Committee which appoints and develops mentors to serve on the AVIXA Board of Directors. He also is the chair of the committee for the renewal of the AVIXA/ANSI 2M standard. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Junior Achievement of Central Illinois and the Morton Premier Soccer Club.

Caldera holds a B.A. in Audio Arts and Acoustics from Columbia College, and has won several industry and community awards and honors, including: Systems Contractor News Hall of Fame (2021); iBi’s Peoria Top 40 Leaders under 40 (2017), the NSCA’s Randy Vaughan Founders Award (2017), AVIXA’s Educator of the Year (2017), Commercial Integrator’s 40 under 40 (2015), and AVIXA’s Young Professional Award (2015).