VoIP history

What is VoIP?

Short for Voice over Internet Protocol, VoIP is a service that allows for phone and video calls to be carried out over the internet. It uses the existing internet and PSTN network to transfer and route voice traffic in IP packets. You may have also heard the term “IP telephony” in reference to VoIP services.

It may surprise you to hear that VoIP, as we know it, has been in use for the last 20 years.

The Internet Phone

VoIP was originally developed around 1995 by VocalTec, an Israeli telecommunications equipment provider and was known simply as InternetPhone.

To use the InternetPhone, each user had to install the software onto their computers, which according to a Fortune article from 1996 was a complete drag, attach a microphone and wait for the long pauses between sentences.

Despite its growing pains, companies such as Intel and Microsoft were interested and now 20 years later – the VoIP market has grown from a small 500,000 users in 1996 to an estimated 1 billion users in 2018.

The Growth of VoIP

By 2003, the amount of IP telephony calls grew from 1% to 25% of all voice calls. Different companies were introducing their own VoIP switching software, and the coinciding timing of broadband Ethernet service saw the quality of the service and connectivity improve.

Consumers had quickly realised the improved costs associated with a VoIP service, particularly with long-distance calls, and multinational companies also embraced the advantages associated.

Unified Communications

In 2004, Skype had essentially taken over VoIP calling, however a number of companies began popping up providing a unified communications service.

This combined all means of communication necessary for a business including fax, phone calls, email, instant messaging, web conferences and more.


VoIP Today and Beyond

Technology has advanced exponentially in the last 20 years, leading us to today: 2018. With multiple high-speed internet connections available, integrations of phones, computers and other devices, for the most part – VoIP has taken over.

Both businesses and individuals have embraced the benefits of IP telephony – from families keeping in contact from different countries, to businesses communicating with their remote offices via PBX as if they were in the same building.

Many companies (and residential areas) are deciding to make the switch and replace all traditional PSTN networks with VoIP and this trend doesn’t appear to be ending any time soon. In the USA, over a quarter of households surveyed no longer even used landlines and ISPs are taking advantage of this fact, with many of them offering VoIP services bundled with their internet services.

To find out more about how IP telephony can better your business communications, contact us or view our page on 3CX to learn more about our preferred IP PBX.