abstractAs we've covered recently, many hotel owners and managers are somewhat reluctant to make a change to VoIP because they're not completely comfortable with the technology. This is somewhat understandable, because as the technology has grown, certain details have changed. But while the quality of the technology has improved over the years to levels that now make it a formidable opponent against traditional analog lines,  the technology itself hasn't changed too much.

One of the problems that many hotel owners seem to have is that they don't understand the differences between VoIP and other terms that they hear bandied about in the industry or in discussions regarding technology. Three of these terms -- traditional PBX, SIP, and IP Telephony -- are probably the ones causing the most confusion. Our goal for this writing is to remove some of that mystery.

VoIP vs. Traditional PBX

Every hotel owner (or business owner, for that matter), regardless of the size of their facility, has probably familiarized himself or herself with PBX. This telephone system, which stands for Private Branch Exchange, has pretty much been the go-to phone system for decades. There are two primary differences between VoIP and traditional PBX. First, VoIP is primarily cheaper -- very often much so -- than traditional PBX. Second, PBX doesn't have the same kind of robust features that is offered by VoIP, which is mostly due to VoIP being able to provide digital capabilities. For example, if you want to have your voicemail transcribed to either an email or text message, that capability will only be found on a VoIP system. Another good example is simultaneous ringing, where a single call rings at multiple locations at once. This is also something that is available through VoIP, but not with traditional PBX.

VoIP vs. SIP

The funny thing about comparing these two terms is that they are actually connected to each other. Session Initiation Protocol -- or SIP -- is what enables VoIP to function in the first place. This protocol allows for the management of multimedia sessions such as voice and video. Any voice or data that is sent through a line is defined and controlled by SIP from where it starts to where it ends. Typically, it is believed that SIP's primary functionality is voice, but it also includes functions like video conferencing, instant messaging, media distribution, and others. If you want an easy way to remember the differences between these two terms, simply think of SIP as the method that enables VoIP to be achieved.

VoIP vs. IP Telephony

The biggest problem when trying to explain the differences between VoIP and IP Telephony is the fact that many people in the industry use each of these terms interchangeably. Let's get this straight right now -- they are not the same thing. However, the two terms are related to each other. IP Telephony refers to a digital system of Internet standards and uses not only the Internet but any hardware that's been connected to it that helps improve productivity. VoIP gets used in place of this term because it's known as a digital medium that uses the Internet or "cloud" for communication purchases, but the easiest way to explain it is that VoIP is a subset of IP Telephony. That being said, since IP Telephony depends on VoIP to function, it wouldn't really have a reason to exist if it wasn't for the existence of VoIP.

Now that you understand the differences regarding VoIP and other types of communication terms, perhaps you're ready to make the switch or have other questions regarding the technology and how it can help your hotel succeed. To learn more, you can contact the professionals at PhoneSuite for all of your VoIP needs. Our skilled technicians and service personnel can answer any questions you have and get you started on an upgrade to VoIP right away. Give us a call today!