How does VoIP work?

VoIP operates by converting spoken words into packets of data, compressing them, and transmitting them through the internet. This transformation into a digital format ensures the efficient transfer of information, resulting in clear and crisp communication. Setting up VoIP is a straightforward process that involves a few key components: a VoIP phone or a computer with a headset, a reliable internet connection, and a VoIP service provider. The process includes registration, configuration, and businesses are ready to make calls.

Widely adopted across industries, VoIP is embraced by small businesses and large enterprises alike. Its flexibility and cost-effectiveness make it a preferred choice for companies of all sizes seeking reliable and advanced communication solutions.

VoIP represents a paradigm shift, leveraging internet infrastructure to facilitate cost-effective and versatile voice communication. It transcends the limitations of traditional phone systems, providing businesses with the flexibility to make calls, conduct meetings, and collaborate effortlessly. Unlike traditional phone systems, VoIP adapts to the dynamic needs of businesses, offering scalability, flexibility, and robust features. It thrives in the ever-changing landscape, making it an ideal choice for organisations seeking expansion, particularly in the context of hybrid work environments.

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History of VoIP

The concept of VoIP first emerged in the early 1970s when the groundwork for internet communication was being laid. However, it wasn't until the 1990s that significant strides were made in turning this idea into a practical reality. In 1995, a company named VocalTec Communications introduced the first commercial VoIP application, allowing users to make calls over the internet using their personal computers. This marked a pivotal moment, laying the foundation for the VoIP revolution.

The initial stages of VoIP were characterised by limited adoption due to the challenges posed by internet speeds and the quality of service. It required extensive equipment, and the setup was often complex, making it more of a niche solution than a mainstream one.

As the internet infrastructure improved and broadband became more prevalent in the early 2000s, VoIP began to gain traction. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) played a crucial role in enhancing the reliability and speed of internet connections, making VoIP more accessible to a broader audience. This period witnessed the emergence of various VoIP service providers, each contributing to the technology's refinement and popularity.

By the mid-2000s, VoIP had transitioned from an experimental technology to a commonly used communication solution. The cost-effectiveness and flexibility of VoIP were driving factors in its widespread adoption. As more businesses recognised the advantages of VoIP, traditional telephone systems started to take a backseat.

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The difference between VoIP and analogue phone systems

Traditional analog phone systems, also known as landlines, have long relied on a copper telephone network to transmit voice signals. In contrast, VoIP operates in the digital realm, leveraging the power of the internet to transmit voice data in the form of digital packets. This shift from physical infrastructure to virtual networks marks a significant departure from the limitations imposed by traditional landlines.

Installation and hardware requirements

Analog phone systems necessitate the installation of extensive physical infrastructure, including copper wiring and exchanges. VoIP, on the other hand, requires minimal physical installation. Users can make calls using their existing internet connection, eliminating the need for additional infrastructure.

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Woman using a VoIP phone system to make a call in the office

Software changes vs. engineering interventions

With analog phone systems, any alterations or improvements often require the expertise of telecom engineers and physical interventions. VoIP, in contrast, allows for software-based changes. Upgrades, modifications, and troubleshooting can often be performed remotely, reducing the need for on-site technicians and minimising downtime.

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Adaptability and features

Analog systems traditionally struggled with adapting to evolving communication needs. Adding new features or scaling the system often involves intricate and time-consuming processes. VoIP, being inherently digital, offers a level of adaptability that analog systems find challenging to match.

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Types of VoIP & VoIP equipment

Horizon VoIP phone system

Harness future-proofed VoIP technology to conduct inbound and outbound communications over the internet. Cost-effective, reliable and agile, Horizon is designed to support your business as it evolves, with an extensive range of mobile telephony capabilities and a myriad of features alongside an easy-to-use web-based management portal.

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3XC is an innovative and complete communications solution for calls, video conferencing and collaborative working. 3XC is fully adaptable, with a wide choice of IP phones and the opportunity to deploy the technology on-premise or as a hosted solution. 3XC stands out through its simplicity and flexibility as a solution for businesses of all sizes.

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Microsoft Teams phone system

Make it easy for your business to turn Teams into a powerful, flexible and adaptable phone system by connecting it to a feature-rich resilient operator connect platform. With this, you have the power to call people outside of your Microsoft 365 business domain. Save time, reduce costs, improve business performance and empower your teams.

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PhoneLine+ is the telephone line for the future and perfect for small businesses. Designed to replace traditional phones using VoIP technology, it delivers calls over your broadband network at highly competitive prices. Phoneline+ ensures your business is fibre ready, letting you keep existing numbers and make calls from any device.

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Benefits of VoIP

There are many ways that VoIP can help your business grow and improve, something that we cover in our benefits of VoIP page, however you can take a look at the top three benefits here.

Cost efficiency

One of the foremost benefits of VoIP is its cost-effectiveness. Unlike traditional landlines that require extensive physical infrastructure, VoIP operates over existing internet connections, minimising installation costs. Additionally, the cost of making calls, especially for long-distance or international communication, is significantly lower with VoIP. This financial advantage makes it an appealing choice for businesses looking to optimise their communication budgets.

Portability and flexibility

VoIP liberates communication from the confines of physical locations. Users can make and receive calls from anywhere with an internet connection, turning geographical boundaries into a mere formality. This portability is particularly valuable in the context of the modern workforce, where remote and hybrid work environments are becoming increasingly prevalent. VoIP adapts to the dynamic needs of businesses and individuals, providing unparalleled flexibility in communication.


The scalability of VoIP is a game-changer for businesses of all sizes. Traditional phone systems often require complex and costly upgrades to accommodate growth. VoIP, on the other hand, can easily scale to meet the evolving needs of an organisation. Adding new users or features is a seamless process, allowing businesses to expand without the constraints associated with traditional telephony.

Increased productivity

Significantly increase the productivity of your employees, by providing a range of advanced features and capabilities that streamline communication and improve collaborative capabilities. With VoIP phones, employees can easily make and receive calls, send messages, and participate in video conferences from their preferred devices, whether it's a desktop computer, laptop, or mobile phone. This flexibility allows employees to stay connected and productive even when they are on the go or working remotely, ensuring that they never miss a call again.

Switching to VoIP

Switching to VoIP is remarkably easy. With a bit of assistance at the start and a high-speed internet connection, businesses can seamlessly transition, unlocking enhanced communication capabilities.

Explore our comprehensive switching guide for a step-by-step walkthrough of the process. In the rapidly evolving communication landscape, VoIP stands as a beacon of innovation. Embrace the future of voice communication with Focus Group, your partner in navigating the world of VoIP.

Ready to make the switch? Contact Focus Group today for expert guidance and assistance in integrating VoIP into your communication infrastructure.

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Switching To Voip
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Customer stories

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Carers First

A VoIP business phone solution delivered by Focus Group now connects over 16,500 Carers First staff with their patients.

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Hurstpierpoint College

Focus Group scored top marks with the delivery of a brand new, futureproof telephony system to replace an ageing network.

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Yeo Valley

Focus Group has been a trusted partner of Yeo Valley for over 15 years, driving the brand forward with Cisco technologies.

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