VoIP vs. Digital vs. Whatever

One of the most used terms about today’s telephone system is VoIP. But you may hear other terms as well, such as digital and analog. So, what do they mean? Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the most common terms being used when talking about modern phones.


Analog is the original telephone technology. You spoke into the mouth piece of a receiver, and the force of your voice caused a piece of material, the diaphragm, to vibrate. A magnet was affected by that vibration and sent an electric pattern of that vibration through a copper wire. At the other end of the wire, another magnet changed its pattern in a similar manner to the first magnet. This second magnet was also attached to a diaphragm that now vibrated in a similar way to the first magnet. The vibration produced sound, which mimicked the voice of the person who had spoken.


If you get your telephone service from the cable company, you’re probably getting a digital telephone. While the terms digital and VoIP are often interchanged, when your cable company uses the term digital telephone, it is meant to distinguish that technology from VoIP. These digital telephones convert the analog signal into a digital format, pass the digital information along the telephone, and then convert the digital signal back into analog. Additional data can also be included to allow for more features, allowing the telephone to have enhanced functionality.


VoIP stands for Voice over IP. IP is the technology, or protocol, of computer networks, including the biggest network of them all: the Internet. Your telephone call is basically passed through the Internet much the same way that your e-mail or Youtube videos are. This allows for all sorts of additional functionality that would have been unheard of except in the most high-end of telephone systems.

SOHOTelco deals with VoIP technologies. VoIP doesn’t just take the idea of a telephone, and makes it into an Internet product. In our vision it turns your telephone into a new tool that every SOHO business should be using.