VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) IS not just for telephones anymore. Get ready to change the way you think about audio conferencing. You can easily extend VoIP to the conference room. It can be achieved in a few different ways. VoIP audio conferences can give you more flexibility for collaborative meetings. These will deliver high-quality audio over your computers speakers, headphones and microphones.
Extending VoIP for audio conferencing works like a traditional conference call using analog telephones. Callers connect to a conference bridge in a conference call. It’s a server that permits many people to talk to one another. VoIP audio conferences use the same principle. Callers connect with a conference bridge via their telephones or computers.
The main difference between the VoIP and analog telephones is how the data moves from one point to another point. Traditional telephones use circuit switching for this purpose. For circuit switched conferencing, the telephone system routes the calls through a series of interconnected switches until it reaches the conference bridge. Then, the conference bridge connects many calls to one another. If all the callers are located in the same office, their calls connect to the bridge through PBX (private branch exchange). PBX is a miniature phone network within the office. All the connections stay open as long as the call continues. Under most circumstances, only one person talks at a time. So, only parts of the connections are actually in use at any given time.
VoIP networks (or PBX VoIP) use packet switching instead of circuit switching. Circuit switching keeps the connection open and constant. Packet switching opens a brief connection. It’s just long enough to send a small chunk of data known as packet, from one system to another system. Instead of traveling from switch to switch, the data travels across the Internet following the most efficient path. A VoIP PBX system can be hardware based or can function as a software system.
VoIP provides a higher quality, natural sounding conversation in the conference room with its wideband audio capability. And that’s where the conferencing system truly matters. It doesn’t matter how great VoIP could make someone sound, it can only be as good as that user’s equipment. When equipment only supports narrow band audio or unable to adjust for room acoustics and ambient noise, the call quality is going to degrade.
If a business uses a VoIP network for its telephones, calls from outside the company can still connect with the conference bridges. Conference bridges connect with PBX. External lines may connect directly to the bridge server, or external calls may reach the server through VoIP or PBX VoIP network.
There are several options for bringing VoIP to the conference room. While there are valid reasons for selecting each option, their limitations must still be considered.