The History of VoIP and Business Telephone Systems

The History of VoIP and Business Telephone Systems

Like the Internet itself, the foundations of VoIP are well-known to those who care about it, and likely less common to those with only a casual interest. It may surprise you, perhaps, to hear that VoIP, as we know it, has been in use for the last 20 years. In this article, we will demystify the history of VoIP and business telephone systems.

What is VoIP

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a process to make and receive calls over the Internet. Simply put, VoIP is the transmission of voice “data packets” from one IP address to another over the Internet. VoIP works by transferring voice signals among IP addresses, meaning that these signals have to convert into particles of data small enough to transmit. Vocal parts from the sender are bisected into voice “packets,” which are assigned routing information and sent to the receiver. The packets transmit individually and then consolidate as close to the original form as possible, forming one whole voice. 

The Early Pre-electrical Long Distance Communication Systems 

The Early worldwide telecommunication systems emerged in the 1830s and 1840s with the invention of the Telegraph and the Telephone. Samuel Morse, along with Alfred Vail and other inventors, developed the Telegraph, which transmitted electrical signals over a wire laid between stations. In addition to the Telegraph, Vail and Morse also developed a code (what came to be known as ‘Morse Code’) that designated a set of dots and dashes to each letter of the alphabet and enabled for the manageable transmission of complex messages across the Telegraph lines. On May 24, 1844, Morse sent the first historic message: “What hath God wrought!” from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore, Maryland. A Telegraph line was laid across the Atlantic to Europe by 1866, with 40 such Telegraph lines by 1940.

The Early Electrical Telecommunication Systems 

The world of telecommunication changed on March 10, 1876, when Alexander Graham Bell made the first telephone call. Bell was not alone in the invention of the Telephone. His associate and co-creator was an electrician Thomas Watson, who supplemented the microphone to the Telephone, reducing the necessity to shout.

As we progressed into the 1900s, telecommunication inventions continued to develop, with notable growth to telecommunications systems in particular, such as cable, broadcasting, satellites, computers, and the Internet. 

The Beginning of VoIP

Throughout the years after the debut of the Telephone, many other inventions were introduced, helping telecommunications lead to VoIP.

In 1973, the first voice data packet was transmitted, allowing live voice data packets to be transferred over an Internet predecessor (ARPAnet). The following year was the first time that voice was transmitted over non-telephone lines, which set the foundation for VoIP.

In 1989 Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web (WWW), which not only changed our lives forever but also transformed telecommunications. 

In 1992, and the first “Smartphone” was created by BMI, although it was called the ‘Simon Personal Communicator.’ Simon went on sale in 1994 and featured a touchscreen, email capability, and a handful of built-in apps, such as a calculator and a sketch pad.

In February of 1995, VocalTec Communications Inc., an Isreali company, issued the first-ever internet VoIP software: the Internet Phone. The company was initially established in 1989 by Alon Cohen and Lior Haramaty, who invented the first Voice over Internet Protocol. The VocalTec software reduced the voice signal, turned it into digital packets, and transmitted it over the Internet. And so, the future of VoIP began. 

Growth and Popularity

VocalTec became a part of MagicJack in 2010. In addition to MagicJack, many other industry leaders have risen to fame since VocalTec’s victory in introducing VoIP to the world.  

Mass-market VoIP use began in 2004, with Microsoft’s Skype being one of the first consumer-level VoIP systems to make a splash. The number of VoIP users rose from 150,000 in 2003 to 1.2 million at the end of 2004 with the debut of VoIP calling plans, which allowed users to make calls just as they would with traditional telephone services. 

VoIP Today and Beyond

VoIP technology has grown immensely over the years, and it now goes beyond voice, with its main advantages being to increase dependability and quality for its users. Lessening the amount of dropped calls, mistaken call routing, and hold times, is the difference VoIP can offer to you and your Business.

Its purpose makes it faster, more convenient, and less expensive for businesses to manage both external and internal calls, forwarding, routing, queuing, and much more. 

As a Cloud-based telephony system, VoIP presents businesses and their teams with the freedom and flexibility to work whenever and wherever with little less than an internet connection.

VoIP has shifted the business telephone service destination, taking your current channel system and transforming it into multiple channels of conversation. 

If you are keen to discover more about the advantages of VoIP and how VoIP is perfect for your Business, get in touch with our Loveland, CO-based IT support team today by calling (970) 663-1200 or visit us at 1724 Topaz Dr. Loveland, CO 80537