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A Brief History of VoIP
August 21, 2019

A Brief History of VoIP

VoIP is widely considered as the new face of telecoms, especially for businesses. But VoIP may have been around for longer than you think.


In 1973, an experimental version of VoIP was launched. This 'beta' used the ARPANET network and transmitted voice data using packets, just like modern VoIP. It was tested by a select few telecom and IT engineers, who saw potential in 'network voice protocol', rather than traditional analogue lines.


The first VoIP software appeared on the market in 1995. Called Vocaltec, the software broke voice signals into digital packets and transmitted using the internet. Vocaltec required that both parties have the same expensive hardware and software installed, making it far from the ideal VoIP solution. It was poor quality, and was used predominantly by hobbyists, rather than businesses.


In 1996, Vocaltec launched their full VoIP service. While many businesses still did not have a full broadband connection, Vocaltec laid out the first stage of a VoIP network, which represented the first step towards a full 'VoIP’ network.


By the turn of the millennium, VoIP accounted for 3% of all voice traffic in the US. This was a big step up from VoIP, with wider adoption becoming more and more common across the world as businesses saw the market gap for robust 'VoIP-enabled' hardware and software. Manufacturers such as Cisco started to release their VoIP devices, helping to bring VoIP accessibility into the wider market.


In 2004, full VoIP calling services were released, allowing companies to connect using VoIP. As broadband became more stable over time, so did VoIP. This made VoIP a legitimate alternative for businesses around the world.


By 2010, VoIP was becoming widely adopted across the world by businesses. The advent of hosted VoIP telephone systems also helped drive the change to a full VoIP network. Hardware and software was making it easier than ever to switch to VoIP.


In 2018, Openreach announced that they are switching off the UK's ISDN network. This means that all new orders need to be VoIP/SIP enabled. The push for a full VoIP network has never been more fierce, with service providers looking to convert their customers over to VoIP connections.


Now, VoIP makes up around 60% of all new connections. At Commsplus, we are converting our customers over to VoIP and SIP where possible; to ensure they're running on the latest technology and that their business won't suffer when it comes to the ISDN switch off.

If you would like any more information about VoIP and how it can help your business, please call us on 01934 882200 or email

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