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How Voice Termination Works

|  4 min
In this article

With VoIP changing the way in which we communicate and gaining in popularity for its flexibility and low cost, it’s increasingly important to understand the relevant terminology and what to look for in VoIP services and providers. Here’s a look at what voice termination is and what’s involved.

What is VoIP calling?

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) refers to calls and communication sent via digital means over the internet. In terms of VoIP voice calls, the calling party places the call to the called party. The data to be sent is divided into packets, with information assigned to identify them as they’re transmitted over the network. Upon reaching the destination, the packets are reassembled to form the original data to be communicated to the recipient.

What does voice termination refer to?

Voice termination is also referred to as call termination. When the call is placed, the call is routed from one mobile or VoIP provider to the next until it gets to its destination. Voice termination, therefore, relates to the end point at which the call is received. This may be to an Internet destination, such as Skype, or a PSTN (public switched telephone network) if the calling party contacts a landline number, or a mobile network carrier. Termination services will route these calls to the receiver, which could be anywhere in the world.

The voice termination provider will also be responsible for rearranging the data once it reaches its destination. This is a crucial element in ensuring that the call is completed adequately and that call quality does not significantly deteriorate. Thanks to developments in VoIP technology, call quality can now be of a far higher standard than it once was. In the majority of cases, it is now at least equal to that of a traditional call.
The process of making a VoIP call requires no additional hardware or infrastructure other than either mobile network data, such as 3G or 4G, or internet access, together with a compatible device. The calling party can, for example, use a VoIP compatible phone, tablet device or computer, without being restricted to a specific location, making communication both more budget-friendly and mobile.

Types of voice termination providers

There are different types of providers when it comes to managing VoIP Internet protocol (IP) networks. The original call and its termination can be handled by a provider from one of three Tiers.

A tier-one operator is registered and controls the infrastructure capable of handling the call and its termination. A tier-2 provider will need to lease the service of a tier-one, registered operator. A tier-3 operator is also unregistered and will lease the service from either tier-one or tier-two providers. This increases competition between providers and offers a greater degree of choice when it comes to companies and prices.

Finally, there are also specialist providers that resell or provide wholesale VoIP and termination services, such as IDT. These will represent a rather more flexible, financially attractive option for businesses placing a high volume of calls and requiring good quality worldwide voice termination.

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Costs and implications of voice termination

While many VoIP services provide a cost-effective means of communication, often with free calls, some services and types of call will incur a charge. Almost any call breaking out into the PSTN will incur some level of charge, with calls to certain destinations such as Asia and the Middle East routinely being subject to a higher termination charge, given the fact that there are more incoming calls than there are outgoing in these areas.

A voice termination service provider needs to have the capacity to handle high traffic volumes in order to ensure that call quality is maintained. Telephony operators need to be adept in buying and selling termination, more so as the market is becoming increasingly populated and competitive.

Termination services can range from basic features to more advanced packages for larger firms with a greater demand. Typically, termination can be sold by the minute or wholesale. Wholesale packages, such as those from IDT, can often also offer additional services and benefits for businesses to provide greater efficiency and support.

The quality of the call can vary, so choosing the right termination service is an important consideration. A Mean Opinion Score (MOS) will provide a 1 to 5 rating of the voice quality. The codecs used for encoding and decoding the data play a significant role in the resulting call quality the receiver will experience. The protocol utilised, such as the popular SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), is also vital in ensuring the soft switches that essentially map the calls and the rest of the transfer process runs smoothly and coherently.

Making and receiving VoIP calls involves the efficient collaboration between networks and a strong, reliable internet connection is also required.

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