Call origination is a core concept in the world of telecom and is very simple, in essence. Call origination is an incoming call —your carrier’s process of connecting calls to you. But what exactly is going on when a voice over internet protocol (VoIP) call is made, and where do phone numbers fit into the world of internet-centric telecom?
How VoIP Origination Works
In the past, phone calls were made over the public switched telephone network (PSTN). A mechanical switch in the phone was used to connect the line, and calls were routed through central offices that used switches to route calls to the proper recipients. Telecom went digital in the 80s and 90s, but the PSTN still relies on circuit-based technology (while the internet utilizes packet-switching technology).
Today, calls can be sent over the public internet or private IP using VoIP. When VoIP origination begins on the PSTN, an internet telephone service provider (ITSP) uses packet switching technology to convert the audio signal into digital packets of data for transmission over the internet.ITSP companies utilize a technology like SIP to connect your PBX or telephone system to other callers when you make and receive calls. A SIP trunk is simply a network of digital telephone lines that transmit digital voice data.
Phone Numbers and VoIP Origination
From an end-user perspective, the experience of VoIP origination is exactly the same as making a call entirely on the PSTN. The caller dials a phone number and somebody answers. The difference is in how phone numbers are used, and how the calls are connected.
In IP communications, the number is just an identifier for making calls on the network. One number can be attached to multiple devices, and a user can make and receive calls from the same VoIP number using their smartphone, desk phone or any other internet-capable device.
Additionally, since VoIP utilizes distributed IP networks, area codes have no real significance in assigning numbers. A device can be assigned a phone number with any area code, regardless of the physical location of the device
Functionality of VoIP Numbers
Even though a VoIP number functions the same as a phone number for most users, there are some things that a number can do on an IP network that an ordinary phone number can’t.
Since VoIP numbers can be attached to multiple devices, service providers can offer configurations that use a single phone number to ring multiple devices simultaneously or that will ring each device attached to the phone number one after the other (often called find me/follow me), which is particularly useful for customer service call centers or sales teams.
VoIP numbers can be assigned any area code, so businesses can maintain numbers for each of the areas they do business. This way, prospective customers have a familiar, local number to call and only incur local fees.
Also, virtual numbers can be created to protect the real phone number of a caller for anonymous calling and improved security.
Lastly, since VoIP operates on a data network, the same service can be used for real-time communications that require data transfer, like video calls.
Getting VoIP Numbers
Getting VoIP numbers is as simple as finding an ITSP or VoIP provider to provision and service numbers. Phone numbers assigned to PSTN landlines or other carriers can be brought onto the network via number porting.
Different providers will have different phone numbers available and may not offer numbers in certain countries. Also, not all carriers offer all of the functionality that’s possible with VoIP numbers, so check to ensure that a provider offers the functionality and regional numbers you require.
Telnyx delivers voice, messaging, and more for applications and next-generation communications companies. Telnyx services numbers across 20,000 North American rate centers and 60 countries. Telnyx boasts a global infrastructure that delivers the best in call quality and security. Contact our customer success team to learn more.
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