A Brief History of VoIP and Why You Need it Now

evolution phone

Since the beginning of recorded history, communication has been an essential part of everyday life. From individuals to major corporations, hospitals, and schools, being able to share information is critical. But we’ve come a long way since cave drawings, the adaption of the modern alphabet, and smoke signals.

A communications revolution began with the invention of the telegraph in the 1840s and the telephone around 1876. It wasn’t until well into the 20th century that we began to move away from the analog telephone. With the creation of ARPANET in 1969 and the internet in the 1970s, a new communications era began. In the early 1960s, the concept of packet-switching was pioneered. By the early 1990s, testing of IP telephony for commercial use began and the first IP phone was released in 1995.

Voice over IP or VoIP quickly showed advantages over a public switched telephone network (PSTN). Today, we take VoIP for granted as it powers everything from fax, voice, and chat. 

What is VoIP and how does it work?

VoIP is an acronym for Voice over Internet Protocol. The technology converts voice signals into digital IP packets sent over the internet. In addition to other forms of information such as fax, voice messaging, and SMS, modern VoIP technology also manages multimedia via public internet networks.

Fixed VoIP vs. non-fixed VoIP

There are generally two types of VoIP service providers, Fixed and Non-Fixed. A client that is using a fixed VoIP service would be associated with a physical location and cannot be obtained from someone that is outside the country. Carolina Digital Phone is an example of Fixed VoIP.

Conversely, Non-Fixed VoIP services do not need to be linked to an address, making them easy to get by people outside the country. Common Non-Fixed VoIP providers include Google Voice and Skype. Since VoIP numbers can be tough to trace – like those obtained through simple email signup – they are often a preference of criminals often operating from remote locations.

Stringent laws are in place for automated telephone and text message marketing, in particular regarding wireless phones. Carolina Digital Phone is compliant with all FCC and HIPAA regulations so you can be confident your business is in the hands of professionals.

Advantages of fixed VoIP

  • Replace traditional phone lines for residential and commercial use.
  • Feature-rich and customizable, including 911, auto-attendant, advanced voicemail to email, live call forwarding, and many more.
  • More cost-effective compared to PSTN lines, particularly for long-distance and international calls.
  • Fixed VoIP numbers bring trust and reliability suited for business.

What is a VoIP number used for?

VoIP numbers are free of such limitations because they are assigned to a user. Unlike PSTN landlines where the phone number is tied to the physical location, users only need an internet connection and a desktop, laptop, smartphone, or landline with ATA converter to use virtual VoIP numbers.

This is called direct inward dialing. Customers can use the number to send and receive calls regardless of location. VoIP is also excellent for sending text, fax, voicemail, or video. 

Local Area Code

Among the many reasons to switch to VoIP is establishing a local presence virtually anywhere without the need for a physical presence. Users have the option of selecting their area code, further reducing the cost of calls and giving the appearance of being local to a particular region.

Use as a toll-free number

If your small business wants to offer a toll-free line, using VoIP numbers to offer toll-free calls increases credibility. Toll-free numbers can be routed to other numbers.


Incoming VoIP calls can ring multiple devices including smartphones providing a tremendous amount of flexibility. The ability to use a VoIP phone number virtually anywhere means business owners, salespeople, and even front-office workers can work from anywhere.

Core VoIP Features

VoIP is multi-functional and extremely customizable compared to traditional landlines. To get the most out of your VoIP service, you should be aware of the features available.

Call Forwarding

Need to be somewhere other than your desk? Call forwarding re-routes incoming calls to a different extension or location seamlessly. This feature would also come in handy for after-hours calls needing to automatically forward to an answering service.

Call Transferring

With VoIP, you can easily transfer a call to another extension (even if that person is at a different location). If a caller dials the wrong extension, simply transfer them where they need to be.

Call Recording

If your business needs to record either inbound or outbound calls, VoIP systems allow admins to set that feature up. Optionally, you have the flexibility to allow a user to simply push the record button to record a call.

Call Screening

Call screening enables you to block specific phone numbers. You have the option to create a list of approved/blocked numbers or even entire area codes.


Unavailable to take calls? No problem – set up voicemail to capture messages and even tell the VoIP phone system to send messages right to email. 

Caller ID

A standard feature in VoIP. Whenever you receive inbound calls, your device, computer, desk phone or smartphone, displays the name and phone number of the caller. 

Want to Learn More?

Contact Carolina Digital Phone today to learn more about how cost-effective and beneficial it is to switch your traditional landline phone service to VoIP.

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