History of VoIP and What’s Changed Now

Like so many modern advances in information technology (IT), VoIP is one of those technologies that everybody has heard of but very few know what it is, how it works, or why they might need it. Regardless, VoIP is pervasive and is part of just about every communications system and every call that we make.

Below we take a brief look at what VoIP is, its illustrious journey over the last two decades, and what new advances in VoIP technology we can expect to see.

What is VoIP?

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. In a nutshell, it is the transmission of voice and multimedia content over Internet Protocol (IP) networks.  VoIP historically referred to using IP to connect private branch exchanges (PBXs), but the term is now used interchangeably with IP telephony.

Although VoIP is the technology that lets us use the Internet to make and receive telephone calls, it is more than just that.  It allows us to communicate over a wide range of IP based networks including corporate Local and Wide Area Networks and global carrier networks

How Long Has VoIP Been Around?

Technically, the first successful VoIP transmission occurred in 1973. However, the first mass-use software on the market emerged in 1995 via the company, VocalTec, the same company that developed Magic Jack. At the time, Magic Jack was so ahead of its time, that most people believed that it was a scam. However, Magic Jack operated on the VoIP concept of converting phone calls to IP packets and using an Internet connectioninstead of a standard landline.

In 1996, VocalTec developed the first software that created the template for VoIP technology and launched an entire industry. By 1998 1% of all voice communication was VoIP-based including phone-to-phone and computer-to-phone software and devices. Once industry leaders recognized VoIP’s viability as both a marketable product and game-changing communication technology, it wasn’t long before tech giants such as Cisco, Lucent, and Microsoft began adopting VoIP. By 2000 nearly 3% of all voice traffic was VoIP.

As Ethernet expanded throughout corporate and carrier networks, it gave VoIP the engine it needed for fast and reliable performance.. Mass marketing efforts started as early as 2004 for VoIP technology. VoIP-based phone systems began to compete with digital PBX systems and hosted voice solutions based on VoIP began to emerge as alternatives to premise-based solutions.

VoIP Technology Today: What Has Changed?

VoIP technology has consistently shown both expansion and improvement over the last 20 years. Any issues that you would expect such as dependability, quality of sound, cost, or latency have all but disappeared, making way for more improvements.

Some of the latest advances in VoIP include:

  • Drastic reduction in cost:  Calling costs have become insignificant with the expansion of VoIP technology.  And as hosted VoIP phone system pricing has dropped, it eliminates the capital expenditures required to maintain, update and/or replace old digital PBX’s.More powerful: Cloud-based technology and better equipment have given VoIP the kick it needs to perform in less-than-desirable environments with slower bandwidth. They have also reduced or eliminated the need for dedicated and expenses circuits for voice.
  • Mobility: VoIP has become increasingly valuable, as businesses have more employees working remotely. Corporate communications systems can now be accessed from anywhere in the world across multiple devices such as phones, computers, and tablets.
  • VoIP and AI: When combined with AI, VoIP now offers features such as smart messaging, smart attendants, and greater capabilities in call forwarding, trunking, and dozens of other customer-centric functions.
  • VoIP and 5G: Thanks to 5G technology, VoIP users can expect faster call speeds, higher-quality signals, fewer dropped calls, fewer echoes, and almost no packet loss. This is a benefit for both remote and on-site callers.

Voice and Data Technology and Services in New England

If you are looking for a complete VoIP service provider for your business in the greater New England area, then contact Barry Communications. We offer a wide range of VoIP solutions and applications to fit any business requirement.

To find out more or to schedule a consultation, call us at 888-853-7120. You can also send a message on our contact page.

SD-WAN: What Is It and What are the Differences Between a Cloud Service & a Hardware-Based Solution?

What is SD-WAN?

The software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN or SDWAN) is a specific application of software-defined networking (SDN) technology applied to WAN connections such as broadband internet, 4G, LTE, or MPLS. It connects enterprise networks – including branch offices and data centers – over large geographic distances.

All SD-WAN solutions today should include the following features:

  • A central controller that establishes network-wide policies and determines roles for each network device under management.
  • Commodity vanilla hardware runs the networking function.

Hardware vs. Cloud-Based Solutions

Cloud-Based SD-WAN Solution:

SD-WAN As A Service (Cloudbase) is a subscription- based service delivered to customers as a managed service using software orchestration and is called SD-WAN as a Service.

Many different networking vendors and service providers are working on SD-WAN platforms and services. Some of the operators of SD-WAN services include AT&T, CenturyLink, Colt, Masergy, Singtel, Sprint, and Verizon. Leading providers of SD-WAN platforms and orchestration software include Ciena, Cisco, VeloCloud, Silver Peak, Versa, and Viptela — among many others.

SD-WAN as a Service can be appealing to end users and enterprises that don’t want to manage the WAN network or applications and would prefer to outsource these services to a service provider.

SD-WAN Orchestration – In order to deliver SD-WAN as a service using orchestration, a service provider needs an SD-WAN orchestration platform to control and manage the service. This typically involves some combination of SDN controller and network virtualization software that can automate the provisioning and operation of the software and elements required, many of which would be based in the cloud.

One of the main goals of SD-WAN orchestration in the cloud is to enable customer provisioning, whereby a customer could go to a Web portal and order services that can be automatically configured and delivered with the SD-WAN platform, without requiring human intervention.

Pros and Cons of a Cloud-Based Solution:

Pros

  • Adapts both site-to-site VPN and public-cloud traffic to changing network performance
  • Compliments existing firewall/security
  • Optimizes application performance and quality
  • Encrypts all network traffic and maximizes bandwidth
  • Enables greater simplicity with a single portal interface to manage multiple connected services
  • Leverages built-in reliability via routing protocols that allow your network to adjust to traffic demands
  • Gateways SD-WAN Cloud Connect for direct connectivity to leading Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) and Network Ecosystem

Cons

  • Not ideal for Companies looking for Network Control
  • Monthly recurring Subscription fee
  • Interop limitation with certain Premise based FW/UTM

SD WAN – Premise-based:

SD-WAN premise-based is essentially a virtual appliance, it bolts onto existing product offerings sucg as routers, firewalls, etc. Premises-based SD-WANs can be cost-effective solutions for smaller, localized businesses. These solutions create a virtual IP network between the vendor-proprietary appliances, giving them control of network packets from end to end.

Pros and Cons of a Hardware/Premise-Based Solution:

Pros

  • Low Cost
  • Familiar Vendor
  • Bolt-on
  • Usually lower cost than MPLS
  • Adapts site-to-site traffic to changing network performance (but generally not public cloud applications)
  • Strong QoS for site-to-site (not cloud) traffic, as long as network bandwidth is 100% stable (generally only SLA-backed fiber or T1s)
  • All-in-one box for firewalling, VPNs, DHCP, NAT and other network edge needs

Cons

  • No real-time adaption to ISP issue to Cloud Services
  • Ineffective (upload-only, fixed rate) QoS
  • Ineffective QoS for cloud traffic like VoIP, VDI/DaaS, and SaaS
  • Non-seamless or no network performance adaptation for real-time public cloud traffic
  • Yearly maintenance/support fees
  • Typically, highly complex, requiring lots of configuration and fine-tuning

Voice and Data Technology and Services in New England

If you are looking for a complete VoIP service provider for your small or medium business in the greater New England area, then contact Barry Voice and Data Communication. We offer desktop and mobile communications, internet and carrier telephone services, and managed cloud services.

To find out more or to schedule a consultation call us at 888-853-7120. You can also send a message on our contact page.

The Impact of the Mitel/ShoreTel Acquisition

Back in 2017, Mitel Networks Corporation acquired ShoreTel for $530 million. The new partnership was welcome news for Barry Communications. ShoreTel, our flagship Unified Communications (UC) manufacturer had now become part of a global communication magnate that supplied cloud-based services for over two billion businesses connections worldwide.

Mitel Networks currently serves 70 million users in nearly 100 countries. They provide innovative, next-gen cloud technology such as infrastructure, communication platforms, applications, call center solutions, on-site strategies, and site-to-cloud strategies.

While change always garners concern – especially in the world of communication and security – heritage ShoreTel customers can feel confident that the Mitel acquisition will significantly enhance all areas of service including:

  • Cloud-based platform development
  • Customer service efficiency
  • Internal and external security through all channels
  • Innovative, forward-thinking unified communications technology

In other words, all shareholders – specifically customers – have everything to gain from the recent Mitel/ShoreTel M&A.

Mitel Now Looks to the Future

This latest in a string of high-profile acquisitions have positioned Mitel as the number two UC provider in the world. ShoreTel is now part of a mega-conglomerate that includes PrairieFyre Software (2013), Inc., Aastra Technologies (2013), OAISYS (2014), and MavenirSystems (2015).

Each partnership helped Mitel create a healthy corporate infrastructure, firm economic footing, and an exceptional team of technology experts that are innovators in their respective fields.

Together with ShoreTel, Mitel Network Corporation now looks to the future. What can we expect to see from this latest M&A?

Improved Customer Experience

Many of Mitel’s customers are also customer-driven small businesses, large businesses, and enterprises. So, they understand the company-customer relationship. Therefore, new and current clients can expect to see advancements in technology that allows them to engage with their customers on various devices and platforms, analytics tools that measure employee productivity, and ideas for increasing customer satisfaction and improving user experience (UX) online.

Greater Industry Insights

Mitel works with companies across a broad spectrum of industries including education, field services, government, healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, retail, and sports & entertainment. By enlisting ShoreTel to join in the work, Mitel now has additional means for gathering Big Data and analysis to fine-tune their services and products within each industry.

Enhanced Services

Mitel will be able to provide unlimited support and options for clients through maintenance plans, remote monitoring, warranty and repair, communications, connection optimization, and even individualized training to ensure that companies can successfully utilize their products and services.

For this reason, Barry Communications fully supports the ShoreTel acquisition and looks forward to partnering with Mitel in the future.

Managed Cloud Communication Services in Boston, Massachusetts

If you are looking for a complete VoIP service provider for your small or medium business in the greater New England area, then contact Barry Communications. We offer desktop and mobile communications, internet and carrier telephone services, and managed cloud services.

To find out more or to schedule a consultation call us at 888-853-7120. You can also send a message on our contact page.