We can all thank the acronym-loving jargon slingers of the IT universe for terms as easy to confuse as VOIP, VOPI, and VOPN. Or maybe we should be blaming marketers for going with almost-clever acronyms over more accurate terms. In either case, what’s the actual difference between these acronyms? And what does it imply for your business telecom?
VOIP, VOPI, and VOPN – What’s the Difference?
Let’s start with the basics. Voice over Internet Protocol, or VOIP, is a technology that uses the Internet to place phone calls. Voice signals are converted into data and sent to their destination via the web. As this data travels the web it can encounter various disruptions that affect voice service quality. This is where VOPI and VOPN enter the picture.
VOPI and VOPN are actually the same technology under different names: a private network connection between two or more locations. It is deployed to minimize or eliminate the various disruptions to data flow, call quality and security.
VOPI vs VOPN
The difference in terminology is a matter of catchiness over accuracy. VOPI (Voice over Private Internet) is a play on the industry-defining term VOIP. But “private Internet” is pretty inaccurate since the Internet is inherently public and open. It is after-all a network of independently owned computers and servers. Calling it private doesn’t quite make sense.
VOPN (Voice over Private Network) describes the technology as it is: voice transmitted over a private point-to-point network. Encoded voice signals are transmitted via the private network and the Internet in the same way – as data packets – but that does not make it “private Internet.” It is more accurately described as a private pathway through the Internet.
Only some Hosted VOIP providers offer a VOPN to all of their clients as a standard. The best service providers own and maintain a robust infrastructure required to control and optimize data flow. The term ‘hosted’ simply emphasizes the fact that it is a cloud-based service managed by the provider, whereas “Voice over Private Network” emphasizes the safety and consistency of data flow via the provider’s private network infrastructure. Both aspects are central to the advantages of the leading hosted technologies, together creating the simplicity, reliability, and security of hosted voice services.
THE ADVANTAGES OF VOPN
Keeping voice data packets en route and intact has been one of the defining challenges of the VOIP industry. Until the last decade or so, voice packets were damaged or lost along the way frequently enough that a secondary landline was almost always necessary. While VOIP hardware and software have improved significantly, a private network connection is the lynchpin of true consistency.
Although it’s much easier and cheaper to offer over public access Internet, It would be impossible to promise anything better than “best effort” uptime, voice quality and security. Unfortunately, “best effort” standards can result in a range of voice and call issues that companies new to VOIP won’t know how to resolve.
QUALITY & CONTROL
The biggest benefit of using VOPN is the guarantee of service quality. Providers that offer point-to-point network connections through a proprietary circuit have better Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with leading performance and uptime standards.
VOPN allows both providers and users to thoroughly monitor their network. With real-time analysis of the data flow, problems can be identified and addressed before there is any impact on the service. Providers can maintain and optimize their network backbone, ensuring unobstructed data transmission at all times.
On-Premise VOIP systems are connected through the public Internet—the infrastructure already exists and doesn’t require maintenance. But in reducing their overhead and effort they opt to send data over multiple channels of varying consistency with no real control of the path. These sporadic routes are to blame for issues like jitter, voice delay, and packet loss, all of which make for fragmented phone conversations.
With a private, point-to-point connection, there are far fewer places along the data route for fraudsters and hackers to attack. Public access Internet has very little guarantee beyond security measures (if any) configurable on the customer’s firewall.
The potential threats to On-Premise VOIP
- Toll Fraud
- Compromised Information
- Hobbyist Hacking
The potential effects range from network disruption or malfunction to financial losses. With real-time, 24/7 monitoring offered by many Hosted and VOPN providers, any attempts can be identified and resolved sooner.
REAL ACCOUNTABILITY ON A CUTTING-EDGE TECHNOLOGY.
VOPN, VOPI, Private Internet Access, point-to-point connection—whatever you call it, it’s a guarantee on service and quality. That alone makes exploring what this technology can do for your business worth it. Public access may reduce your VOIP provider’s investment and in turn yours—but with that bit of savings goes all the guarantees of voice performance and security that make Hosted VOIP such an asset. With VOPN, companies like Epik Networks you get all the comfort and reliability of traditional telecom with the comprehensive features of VOIP, at no risk.
Can you ask for much more?