Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a technology that converts voice calls to data packets that travel over the same networks that carry data traffic. With VoIP, users with can make calls via the Internet, whether from home, an office, a hotel, or anywhere else. Institutions often save considerable costs on long distance using VoIP, and features that cost extra from traditional phone service are often included in VoIP. VoIP systems integrate with services such as e-mail and online directories, and institutions that implement VoIP can deploy converged networks that combine voice, data, emergency notification, and other systems, streamlining maintenance and reducing operational costs.
By migrating phone service to the data networks that colleges and universities maintain anyway, institutions can take fuller advantage of that infrastructure while providing another imperative to ensure the reliability of those networks, which benefits all of the IP services. VoIP involves tradeoffs surrounding factors such as cost, flexibility, reliability, and user expectations, but evidence continues to mount that improvements in technology are tilting such evaluations in favor of VoIP