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How VoIP Works


Business phone systems may seem complicated, but that's mostly because too many companies use "telco-speak," which is full of acronyms and confusing terms. It really doesn't have to be that way. Here's a plain English description of how voip works starting with the phone system parts.

Phone system parts

Softswitch: Software that directs incoming calls to the right extension, automated attendant or voicemail box. It’s sort of the “brains” of the operation. 

Server: Computer hardware where the softswitch resides.

Voice Service: The method by which calls are delivered to the softswitch. Examples of voice services are VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), PRI lines (traditional telephone lines), SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) trunking and T1 data.   

Control Panel: The interface that lets users administer and manage their business phone systems. From here, you can add users as well as access reporting and information about system health. 

Network Switch: A switch serves as a controller, enabling networked devices to talk to each other efficiently.

Value-added Services: These are all the whistles and bells, like our Heads Up Display, contact center features, voicemail transcription and paperless fax.

With a Fonality phone system, the components can be arranged differently depending on how each client would like their solution deployed. Next, we’ll cover the different options available for deployment.

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Fonality Voip phone system options

Cloud phone system

For customers who choose a cloud based phone system, the softswitch, control panel and value-added services reside on servers that are located in our data centers and managed by us. This is also referred to as a Hosted PBX system. Most customers choose a multi-tenant deployment where multiple clients are securely supported by the same server, but others choose to have their softswitch on a dedicated server.

Usually, clients who choose a cloud phone system also get internet-based voice services from Fonality. However, clients who prefer it, can bring their own voice and utilize traditional phone lines or even VoIP service from another provider.

The only equipment you need onsite for our cloud phone system is the modem provided by the Internet Service Provider (ISP), a router, network switch(es) (if needed) and phones.

 Cloud phone system

On-premises system

The on-premises deployment is very similar to the cloud deployment except that the server on which the softswitch is loaded is located at the client’s location. This is also referred to as a Hybrid PBX system. As with the cloud deployment, clients can still select their choice of voice service, including VoIP from Fonality. The Control Panel and value added services are delivered over the Internet even if the switching functionality is on site. This means that even premise clients can still administer their system and enjoy features, like Heads Up Display, from anywhere.

PBX phone system