VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol which means making your phone calls using the internet instead of traditional landlines. It works by taking your analogue voice signal and converting it into a digital signal and then sending it as data over your broadband connection. VoIP phones for small business can be considerably less expensive to use than calls over ordinary landlines.

You can use a VoIP adaptor to make calls from your existing landline equipment. The adaptor either plugs into the phone socket on the wall or to your router. You can also make calls using your computer if you have an app like Skype or Google Talk as long as the person you are calling also has the app installed. Some of the apps like Skype also let you call a landline or mobile as well. Calls from, for example, Skype to Skype are free, but calls to a number may incur a charge.

The precise equipment that you need depends on which method of VoIP you are using. You obviously need a broadband connection, and ideally a fibre optic one as it is more reliable. Ideally, you want an unlimited one so that you can talk as much as you wish. This will give you really clear sound when calling. However, if you have slow internet, you could find that your calls will be terrible, so it may not be suitable if you are out in the sticks.

For VoIP using an adaptor you will need the adaptor itself and a compatible handset. If it plugs into your router, you will need a compatible router. For VoIP with a computer you will need an internet connection and the right software. You will also need either a headset or a microphone and speakers. A headset is best for clarity and also means that nobody in the office will be able to hear your whole call.

If you use one of the NEC phone systems, it is worth knowing that the NEC VoIP systems will also support non-VoIP telephone handsets and lines.