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VOIP: The Future of Making Calls?

The history of the telephone is longer than you think, it actually reaches back to 1672 when a man called Robert Hooke discovered that sound could travel along a wire or string from a mouthpiece to an earpiece. But it wasn’t until the mid-eighteenth century when this technology started to be explored. 

Arguably there has been more progress made in telecommunications in the last three decades than in the last three centuries, one of those innovations has been VOIP technology. In this article, we look at why VOIP has been so successful in recent decades and consider the future of making calls with VOIP. 

A Brief History of VOIP

VOIP was developed in 1995 as a way for businesses (primarily) to save money on long-distance phone calls. It was discovered that cheap or free Internet calls could be made between servers that drastically cut conventional telecommunications costs. 

From 1996 onwards VOIP infrastructure and services have continued to expand with voicemail applications, multiple devices calling capabilities, and video conferencing services. Into the 21st century and companies realised they could transfer information over IP as well, further enhancing VOIP capability. 

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Today it’s unthinkable for businesses to operate without a VOIP system in place. VOIP offers high-quality reliable connectivity at a low cost and also syncs nicely with emerging technologies such as IoT and UC. The present rise of VOIP can be easily likened to the Internet boom of the early 90s.

VOIP: An Overview 

VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. Unlike legacy phone networks, VOIP turns the voice signals into digital ones and sends them through the Internet to a target server. VOIP technology uses Packet-Switched Protocols meaning that voice and data are sent in signal “packets.” 

Companies predominantly use VOIP networks today because they integrate both phone and data services into an existing network. Apart from being cheaper than legacy systems, VOIP allows companies to transmit information and data files as well. 

Using a VOIP network is virtually indistinguishable from using a traditional telephone line. The VOIP devices are plugged into an Internet connection and digital signals are sent instead of electrical signals, this makes it possible to dial and contact anyone on the global network. 

How VOIP Works 

VOIP is the 21st Century version of a global telephone network. Although landline telephones and legacy networks are still used there is a clear trend towards mobile networks and VOIP services – so how does VOIP technology actually work? 

In a way, it is exactly the same as recording your voice onto your computer. To do this you talk into a microphone and your computer records a limited frequency range using CODECS. The computer might also compress this file to save space. VOIP works the same way but it uses more sophisticated CODECs. 

The audio recorded by the computer is then grouped together into “data packets” which are transmitted over the IP network. These data packets contain around 10 milliseconds of audio. The same server protocol is used for VOIP as other data transmissions. 

The Benefits of VOIP

It’s clear that VOIP networks are the future, and here’s why. 

Lower Costs 

Because VOIP uses an Internet connection and transmits data digitally it slashed the costs of using multiple phone-ins on a legacy system. Internet service providers will usually offer businesses a “call bundle” with a discount on their VOIP service. 

Higher Call Quality 

Unlike traditional telephone lines that can suffer from interference, VOIP services use a strong and stable Internet connection. There is little chance of interference during important calls. VOIP telephone systems also offer HD voice for excellent clarity and crisp audio. 

Flexibility 

A VOIP service can be built around the needs of your business and tailored to you. You can add thousands of users to your network at no extra cost. The only limit to this is your bandwidth which can be modified separately at the router or with the service provider. 

Scalable System 

The aim of any business is to grow and become more profitable but that isn’t easy on a traditional network that requires more investment to add users. VOIP networks don’t have this issue, they can grow flexibly with your business at no extra cost. 

The Future of Making Calls 

The Future is looking up for VOIP networks, mainly because so much innovation is happening in the communications sector. New technologies are arriving such as AI and Machine Learning, and the increased use of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Unified Communications (UC). 

As it happens VOIP systems link up nicely with these emerging technologies. Take the IoT for example, there is an ever-growing number of smart devices linking to one another and data such as calendar updates and messages can be sent over the VOIP networks. VOIP is also better at connecting devices. 

VOIP also links up nicely with UC which describes the process of bringing all communication resources together for maximum productivity. In the coming years, more communication and data will be sent via Web and video conferencing, something VOIP is made to facilitate. 

Wave WIfi Engineer

Get ahead with Wave

With all this in mind, it makes sense to get ahead of the curve and invest your business in VOIP technology today. There isn’t a lot to think about, VOIP technology is not only cheaper and more efficient, but it is also the future of integrated business networks – so why pass up on a golden opportunity.

If you are still invested in multiple phone lines to run your business you are paying too much for your communications network, you are also on the legacy side of technology instead of riding a WAVE to the future. You can switch to Wave Internet quickly and adapt your package according to business needs. 

Wave Internet doesn’t only cater to business customers, you can also benefit from VOIP as a domestic user. Think of the future, the Internet of things, unified communications, artificial intelligence and machine learning. This is a rising tide of possibilities for you, so ready your board in the water and get in touch

What will the big BT switch off mean for your business?

Use of the internet is an integral part of our daily lives whether at work, home or in a public space and as the world becomes even more reliable on internet usage for such things as services, grocery deliveries and even medication, a fast and reliable internet provider has never been more appropriate.

But what most people don’t realise is that the internet infrastructure itself is a very old implementation that was invented as a secure means of communication during the Cold War over an even older phone line system, and since then, apart from fibre optic upgrades, it has changed very little. Because of its age, the phone line system is now becoming outdated and BT is planning a switch-off that could affect your business.

Fortunately, there is good news but before we get into the details, some key considerations include:

  • What is the Switch Off?
  • New Tech, New Solution
  • Business Packages for Me

The switch-off is a planned event that is going to replace traditional ISDN and PSTN business communication methodologies with a completely online VoIP system while there is new technology available that offers completely tailored and relevant solutions for any size business with no abhorrent and outdated contracts.

What is the Switch Off?

By 2025, BT will have switched off all of its ISDN and PSTN internet communication systems. This is set to affect over 2 million small businesses in the UK that rely on the outdated technology for their day-to-day activities as BT implements a fully online Voice Over IP system that will mostly affect those who rely on telephone communication and faxing.

Voice Over IP is a web-based form of communication that uses the internet as a means of digital communication rather than traditional copper wire methods used for fax machines and landline telephones. However, this doesn’t mean anything bad for your business, in fact, it means quite the opposite.

You will have to adapt to a VoIP system but this is relatively cheap, costs less per month to run and provides superior quality over standard phone systems. Adaptors can also be purchased cheap and easily installed so that fax machines can operate via the VoIP system, therefore, benefiting from the faster speed and improved quality of fibre optic internet systems over the centuries-old copper wire Public Switched Telephone System.

New Tech, New Solution

Although VoIP can be integrated into the PSTN and ISDN systems, the technology is old and outdated therefore a new system is needed. Wave Internet offers a truly 21st Century solution to the 19th Century problem of fast, reliable and secure communication. Using microwave technology, at Wave Internet we can offer stunningly fast wireless internet connections to urban and rural regions alike.

We don’t mean Wi-Fi when we say “wireless”, our technology is much more advanced than that. Our wireless internet data is transmitted directly from one of our data distribution sites (that are connected to the fibre optic network) to your property, home or business without the need for any wires, just a small receiver dish similar to subscribed TV:

The use of microwave transmission means that no speed is lost and connection integrity is among some of the highest that modern technology allows. Because of this, being located far from an internet exchange is no longer an issue and we are able to provide superfast broadband wherever you need it, whenever you need it, regardless of location.

Wave Internet also offers superior advantages over other internet providers such as Sky, Virgin and BT, since they all still operate using wired technology which is prone to outages, exponential transmission drop off and requires a phone line billing system as an extra expense which can cost around £200 per year:

Wave InternetTraditional Providers
Maintains speed and connectionLoses speed and drops out
Flexible PricingExpensive and bound to packages
Provides a strong signal anywhereWeak or not available in some locations
No phone line requiredPhone line installation and payment 
Reliable mesh system availableWeak Wi-Fi signals

We also generously offer a free router to all customers who take up a no-contract subscription no matter what tier they choose, even our most moderately priced package.

Business packages with the latest in broadband technology

Despite our impressive technology, generous savings and super reliable service, where we really shine is offering the best packages to our customers that reflect fair and accurate pricing with no hidden charges or extraneous expenses. 

While we offer exceptional value for money with our family plans, we simply cannot be beaten with our comprehensive business tiers that offer everything a small to medium enterprise needs.

Wave InternetTraditional Providers
Transparent information and billingObscured technology and annual increases
Flexible contractsLong and locked in contracts
Unlimited usageExtra charges for exceeding limits
Exceptional customer serviceOutsourced and poor customer service

For businesses, our most reasonably priced Silver package starts at £49.99 per month for a guaranteed 20mbps download speed. More expensive options take business needs into consideration such as static IP addresses (required for remote access) and VoIP integration options with guaranteed download speeds of 65mbps and even 100mbps which can be discussed with our professional team. 

Connection is guaranteed even in the most rural locations* since phone lines and exchanges are not required as with traditional providers. This means that you will always have access to fast and reliable internet service that has been designed with modern-day communication systems in mind such as mesh systems and wireless technologies that will ensure a future proof implementation and guarantee a smooth transition into a 21st Century comms system when the switch-off has completed in less than 4 years.

switch graphic

*Wave internet currently only operates in the Lancashire and Greater Manchester areas but we are pleased to announce that we are expanding our services to include many more locations.

Cancelling Corporations – Wireless, Local Internet Might Be Better for You

When you think of the term ‘Shop Local’ you often think of the small coffee shop around the corner or the friend who has turned her hobby into a business. What you may not be aware of in the term applies to all aspects of the business including your internet provider.

The past few years have seen an increase in local shopping as people become more aware of the mass production process and want to know where their products come from.

Just like food and locally produced products, new technology has facilitated the use of local internet providers that can provide a fast and reliable connection with superior speed, connection and service over large corporations.

Similar to any other product, choosing a local provider means a tailored experience that results in a more reliable experience for the customer and the technology used allows for an internet connection in places that other providers often can’t or won’t provide.

Covid-19 and Internet Providers

The current pandemic has changed the world in many ways and the way we shop has been affected on a large scale. Since ‘stay home’ orders have been strictly enforced, online retail has boomed and has seen a 76% increase over the past 12 months.

Because of this, many local retailers have welcomed the opportunity to make the jump to online service in order to stay afloat during the pandemic as fewer and fewer people are able to make it to stores in person.

However, many large corporate internet providers that don’t have the infrastructure for reliable service in rural areas may force a contract on a small business owner that isn’t necessary, and are known for their terrible customer service. As of 2020, only 46% of Virgin customers stated that they were happy with their broadband service in a report issued by Ofcom shortly before the Covid-19 pandemic struck the UK.

The Problem with ISPs

Being able to access the internet is almost a basic human right as the medium is used for almost every aspect of modern life. In 2020 alone, approximately 700,000 school children suffered because they did not have access to the internet in order to take advantage of online lessons while they were at home during the pandemic. 

The cost of a good and reliable internet connection doesn’t come cheap and many of the major companies will force unreasonable contracts upon customers that require them to take up extra services that they don’t want or need in order to access internet services.

Virgin, Sky and BT offer their internet packages as standalone products but at a premium price. Their packages are tailored for customers to subscribe to their digital TV services and landline installation as well. These add unnecessary charges to monthly bills.

Sky TV’s cheapest package, for example, costs £43 per month with a £69 setup fee over an 18-month contract and while it includes broadband, which is quite slow, also forces the customer to take Sky TV as well. 

BT has also announced that they will be switching off their ISDN and PSTN services in 2025 and moving their phone technology completely online to a VoIP system. This is expected to affect over 2 million small companies in the UK that rely on telephone communication as a part of their day-to-day business.

While it will still be possible to send and receive data using the copper phone line system with VoIP integration, the technology itself is outdated and a modern method is required to bring a business into the 21st century. 

New Technology

Wireless internet has arrived as the only solution to the outdated methods employed by all major internet providers. This doesn’t refer to Wi-Fi, which sends a radio signal from a router that is connected to the phone line system to your mobile device, but rather completely wireless data transmission that provides wireless broadband without the phone line.

Wave Internet uses wireless fibre technology that utilizes microwaves to send data from distribution sites to your home or business with no loss of speed. Distribution sites are connected to the fibre optic infrastructure from where data received is transmitted without the need for a wired connection to your property, but rather is received via a small dish affixed to the outside of a building.

Wave InternetTraditional Providers
Maintains speed and connectionLoses speed and drops out
Costs lessExpensive and bound to packages
Provides a strong signal anywhereWeak or not available in some locations
No phone line requiredPhone line installation and payment 
Reliable mesh system Weak Wi-Fi signals
Free RouterExpensive router
Transparent information and billingObscured technology and annual increases
Flexible contractsLong and locked in contracts
Unlimited usageExtra charges for exceeding limits
Exceptional customer serviceOutsourced and poor customer service

Unlike standard providers, Wave Internet can be tailored for home use, business use or even home office use. Comprehensive packages have been designed to take into account the different requirements for all types of users.

No longer will you be tied to an unreasonable contract with unreliable connection performance and even worse customer service. The nature of wireless internet technology means that a strong and reliable connection can be maintained at any site whether urban or rural.

Ranging from 12mbps, which is faster than Sky’s most expensive package, up to 40mbps, our home packages have been designed for all family sizes from couples and small families up to large families who like to game and use home offices.

For businesses of all kinds, including rural offices, industrial, commercial and hospitality sectors we offer excellent and reliable solutions ranging from25mbps up to 65mbps.

All of our packages, whether home or business do not require any phone lines or phone line installation, can be cancelled at any time and come with a free router. In addition, our business packages offer future-proof digital VoIP services which will get you prepared for the 2025 switch off.

Wave internet currently only operates in the Lancashire and Greater Manchester areas but we are pleased to announce that we will be expanding our services to include many more locations.

The lockdown pastimes eating up your bandwidth

Lockdown 2.0 is well underway and if we have learned anything from the last one, it’s that we’re going to need plenty of distractions to ensure we get through it with our sanity intact. Not being able to see the people you love or live life as you would like is frustrating, but even more so if you have nothing to occupy yourself with while you’re at home. 

That being said, depending too much on things like apps, software and gaming, can mean slowing down your bandwidth and having trouble when you need it most. Your data speed has more to do with your bandwidth usage than many people realise. In some cases, your wifi may slow down so much that platforms you would usually use easily become unusable. It gets even worse if you have more than one person trying to use the internet at the same time. 

Don’t jump to conclusions and call your internet service provider with a barrage of insults just yet – it’s probably not their fault! To get back to streaming, gaming, and watching things like a pro during lockdown 2.0, you need to address the things eating up your bandwidth. 

So, what is using up all your Bandwidth?

Streaming Netflix

Streaming

Streaming can be one of the main culprits when it comes to these pastimes. Netflix, YouTube, and Prime all require bandwidth to ensure that you can watch high definition playback of your favourite shows without any issues or delays. Nobody wants to deal with the dreaded ‘buffering’ signal, do they? 

Each service does offer the ability to downgrade your streaming to save on bandwidth, so that could be worth a look if you feel this may be one of the main sources of your problems. Hitting Control+Alt+Shift+S allows you to bring up a menu that can override the quality settings. Netflix ensures smooth streaming is by toggling its video quality based on how much bandwidth your internet connection has, so sometimes it will do it automatically. If you make changes manually they will come into play within 8 hours.

If you tend to stream in other ways, such as playing games on platforms like Twitch, for example, then you need to remember that this is also going to take up a substantial amount of space. 

Gaming

The speeds required to enjoy a solid gaming experience will depend on a variety of factors, from the games you are playing to the consoles you are using. If you’re going to game seamlessly then you need to make sure you have enough bandwidth free and that you even increase it, if needs be. Do your research before buying a new game or console to be sure you can handle it. If you’ve already been experiencing issues, checking out the bandwidth required by the game may give you insight into why things haven’t been working the way they should. 

Downloads

Downloads consume your bandwidth and can slow down your internet speed substantially. Whether you’re downloading shows to watch on your device without an internet connection or something else, you should be aware of this before you begin a download. Depending on the size of the download, it could take hours. 

Uploads 

As with downloading files, uploading files such as Youtube videos will take up a proportion of your bandwidth. Being prepared to take your activities offline while this happens may be your only option. 

File Sharing

File sharing is one of the biggest bandwidth-hogging activities out there, for instance, when you use a peer to peer file sharing system. Many people try to upload their files and download at the fastest rates possible, but this will dominate your wifi without fail. Whether you’re transferring music or movies, remember that you could also be open to legal action from intellectual property owners. 

Speed Up Slow WIFI

Figuring out what the problem is 

Use Your Router 

See if you can use your router to figure out what the issue is. You can check your IP addresses, MAC addresses, and the current connection status so you can see exactly what is connected to your network at the moment and what you could potentially do without. 

Use Apps

If you’re still none the wiser, certain apps could help. Apps like Glasswire can give you a more accurate insight into how much you’re downloading and uploading over minutes, hours, days, weeks, and months so you get a feel for whether you’re uploading a bit too much. Bandwidth+, Netguard, and BitMeter are other options you can look into. Being aware of what’s really going on can help you to make a plan for future uploads, downloads, and anything else you want to do. 

Glasswire Usage

Scan For Malware

Malware can sometimes be the culprit when you’re using up too much bandwidth, so get some software in place and scan for it. Stay alert and keep your computer and other devices clean and running smoothly. 

Make Sure You’re Getting What You Pay For

In some cases, you may not be getting the promised speeds that you have paid for. Use speed testing websites to see if your uploads and downloads match up to what you’re paying for. Running tests at different times of day across different sites will give you a better idea of what’s going on. Ookla Speedtest can give you an accurate analysis of your speeds. 

COVID-19 and broadband usage

Could it also be affected by high usage due to Covid-19?

Christmas is going to involve more virtual living room family visits this year, but can the infrastructure hold up on the biggest day of the year? We found some interesting statistics on the recent publication on internet usage from Ofcom.

  • Adult internet visitors on average spent 36 minutes longer per day online during April compared to January!

internet usage covid-19

The next generation of consoles to be released is going to ensure a spike in gaming and streaming, which according to Openreach is the major culprit of usage. The zoom calls don’t seem to be the biggest worry in the industry.

The release of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X is no doubt going to put a strain on the internet. The size of the game’s data being downloaded are huge as the Playstation, for example, has no DVD slot and is 100% downloaded.

Let’s brace ourselves over the festive period and hope the internet doesn’t, well, break!

Take a look at our services for great speeds & customer service!

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The email scandal: broadband companies

How some broadband companies make switching hard work by using your email address against you

The chances are, when you signed up with a broadband provider many years ago, they gave you a free email address. Of course, this was great at the time. You created your account and since then, you have signed up to other services, made purchases and receive all important correspondence to this email address. Everything is in one handy place and there when you need it. 

But if you are thinking about switching broadband providers, you should be aware that you might not be able to take your email address with you. A lot of people do not realise that their broadband service is not just featured in their email address name; you actually have to stay with the broadband company in order to access it.

The reality is, some broadband companies are using your email address against you. Let’s take a closer look at how and what you can do about it.

switching broadband provider

The reality when you are switching broadband provider

So, let’s take a common scenario.

You want to change broadband companies due to no longer being happy with your current provider.

You have found a cheaper, better deal somewhere else to save money and suit your internet use.

You organise the cancellation and end your contract.

Then...they drop the bombshell that your email address you have used for years, will no longer be in use!

These companies know that everyone wants to keep their email address, so take the opportunity to make extra income, or to retain the customer because the hassle of changing their email is just too much. Examples of the options they give to customers are:

Your Email account is deleted forever

First of all, some broadband companies will simply delete your email account when you end your contract. You will no longer be able to access any of your emails, and will lose all of your correspondence and contacts. There is no way of regaining any of this information, forcing customers to accept the reality that they have to start all over again.

You pay a monthly fee

The other option you have is to pay a monthly fee in order to keep your email address and still use all of the features you currently use for free. While you may think that this is a small price to pay to maintain all of your data, it is not a great long-term plan. The company in the future could decide they no longer offer the stand-alone service, and you are back to square one.

This is a service that you enjoyed as part of your broadband package. Now, you have to pay your new broadband company and your old one to access your emails. Is this something you really want to do? 

Gsuite Google Emails

Bite the bullet – Sign up for a web-based email service

If you are still wanting to switch broadband provider and are scared about losing your emails and contacts, we have some useful advice. One of the best things you can do is sign up for a web-based email service. This is going to prevent this problem from happening. For example, you can choose to sign up for GSuite or Outlook. They are not linked to any provider and they are also cost-effective.

A personal account with Gmail is free to use, or a business account is as low as £4 per month with all the extra services. You get all of the features that you need to conduct business or personal emails, as well as their being good storage space.

We have created some simple steps so that you can transfer everything from your old emails onto your new web-based email account. Make sure you follow these steps in advance of your email account is closed.

Step 1: Sign up and create your email account

First, sign up for your chosen web-based email service. Create your account and fill in all of your details. This should not take long and the online forms are normally easy to follow and guide you through the process.

Step 2: Forward important emails

On your old broadband email account, find any important emails you have. The best way to transfer them to your new email account on the web is to forward them to your new address. This way, you will be able to view everything and put them into folders in any way that you like.

Step 3: Transfer your contacts list

One of the most important things is going to be your contact list. There are ways to download or export your list so that you can transfer it to your new account. Different email accounts will do this in various ways. Search for instructions on how to do this or contact your broadband provider.

Step 4: Check your website subscriptions

Have a look at your emails. Gather a list of the subscriptions that you have and accounts that you want to change to your new email address. For example, this may be social media websites, online banking and shopping accounts. Log into those websites and change your email address. This will make sure that any correspondence now goes to your new account.

Step 5: Set email forwarding

While you transition over to your new email account, set up email forwarding on your old one. This will make sure that all your messages get forwarded and you receive them. You can even set up automatic replies to emails you receive on your old account. This can inform anyone where they can contact you moving forward.

switch graphic

Make your switch easy – Choose Wave

This may seem daunting, but there is help on hand to switch providers, even if you are stuck with issues regarding your old email address. We will guide you through how to retain your information.

Here at Wave Internet, we side with Ofcom when it comes to email address usage. We strongly believe customers should always have an informed choice.

That is why we never use your email address against you. At no point will you have to pay money to access emails or stay beyond your contract.  We keep everything transparent and we are focused on offers you reliable, local and fast internet. We do not charge extra fees for going over allowances nor do we include unnecessary landline charges.

The great thing is that we offer flexible contracts too. There are a lot of other providers out there that try to tie you down for a long time. We simply do not do this. You can choose a package that suits you best. 

So, do not let broadband companies take advantage of you. Make sure that you research what happens with your email address and look to sign up to a free web-based email service. In addition, contact our team to find out more about Wave Internet. We offer next-general internet technology without any cables. And we offer you all this for an amazing, affordable price. What are you waiting for? Talk with us today.

Featured in the Lancashire Telegraph!

Our superfast broadband service was recently featured in the Lancashire Telegraph.

Wave Internet director, Neil Ainsworth, was quoted saying “Jake Berry (MP) asked if we could do anything for everyone struggling to access the internet in Oakdale, Waterside and Hoddlesden so we have set up a dedicated mast to beam high speed internet across the area. As a local company we’re really pleased to help. We know only too well how frustrating it is to battle with slow internet connections.”

Check out the full article here.