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What is the difference between IP telephony and VoIP?

IP telephony and VoIP are both technologies that can enable communication over the internet, but what exactly is the difference between the two?
Olivia Maier

Olivia Maier

2 min read

The terms VoIP, aka Voice over Internet Protocol, and IP telephony are sometimes used interchangeably. It is often true that their meanings are believed to be essentially the same when they are used in conversation. However, there is a subtle difference between the two that you may appreciate knowing.

To start, what is VoIP?

If you are looking for a more in depth explanation, then it may be helpful to check out this article: What is VoIP? In general though, a VoIP system is a phone technology that allows you to make calls using an internet connection. The technical term VoIP refers to sending voice data packets over the internet. This technology is utilized by business phone providers to give their users access to resources such as virtual numbers, robust features, and other business benefits.

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But then what is IP telephony?

IP telephony is a general term for the infrastructure that uses the internet’s packet-switched connections to support a wide array of telephony services. Telephony services go beyond just your phone to include the electronic transmission of fax, video conferencing, messaging and data as well.

So wait, what’s the difference?

It can be helpful to think of VoIP as a subset of IP telephony. However, some VoIP providers offer their users other IP telephony capabilities, such as text messaging. The two terms are used interchangeably so often that the lines between the two have started to blur.

In the end…

If you have specific business needs it is more helpful to look at specific features offered instead of searching for just “IP telephony” or “VoIP”, as some VoIP providers may offer IP telephony capabilities.

If you are looking for the best word choice between the two, it can be helpful to remember what the “V” in VoIP means, voice! Other internet based telephony communications can be lumped into the IP telephony category.

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