The Growing Importance of WebRTC and VoIP

A man shows the web of possibilities that come with WebRTC and VoIP.

In recent times, there has been a lot of conversation regarding both WebRTC and VoIP. As a business, you might be wondering what these two terms mean as well as the advantages that come with each service. As experts in VoIP, we have all the information you need to understand the similarities, differences, and functionalities of WebRTC and VoIP.

Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

Firstly, let’s start with a couple of definitions, so we know exactly what we’re dealing with before jumping into the comparison. VoIP has been gaining a lot of attention in recent years, and for a good reason. Primarily, the process involves bundled voice data (calls, conferences, etc.) being transmitted over an IP network (an Internet connection).

Rather than relying upon publicly switched telephone networks (PSTN), which has become expensive and somewhat inefficient over the years, it allows individuals and businesses alike to send and receive voice calls using just the Internet. You may have come across the term Communications over Internet Protocol (CoIP).
Professionals often use this as an umbrella term under which VoIP can be found, including voice, text, video, and other forms of communication.

Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC)

With communications protocols in addition to application programming interfaces (APIs), WebRTC allows mobile applications and browsers to transmit data in real time. As an open source standard, WebRTC has a very different infrastructure, which leads us to discuss the differences between WebRTC and VoIP systems.

A man calls a woman friend through WebRTC and VoIP.

In understanding WebRTC and VoIP, WebRTC makes it possible to use the feature of a VoIP-based app like Skype or FaceTime to voice/video call, but utilize these functions through a browser that has these capabilities embedded in it.

Differences Between WebRTC and VoIP

As you may have guessed from our WebRTC definition, the web browser is the home of the majority of activity. At times, backend servers may be required for resources and this allows a peer-to-peer connection to be established. Elsewhere, this can help to work around a firewall or even a network address translator (NAT). With WebRTC, users can open up a web page and start video chatting or voice calling without downloading an app first (like Skype or other VoIP apps) or loading a Flash plug-in.

When comparing WebRTC and VoIP, WebRTC acts as a unified communications platform and is not so much a different entity than VoIP than an extension of it. Instead of downloading or using different communications apps (like FaceTime, WhatsApp, etc.), users can embed voice and video calling directly into the browser. For the most part, it’ll use a broadband connection to work efficiently although some businesses will have the system operating from LTE, WiFi, or 3G. For people who don’t currently have the infrastructure, there will be somewhat of an investment required for VoIP including switches, routers, cables, and servers.

Comparisons Between VoIP and WebRTC

If you’re trying to decide between the two solutions or simply understand how they compare to one another, WebRTC could be seen as a derivative of VoIP. For mobile applications and a website, businesses might choose WebRTC for embedded real-time communication. If you’re looking to offer all your customers the best possible support and a communications system with which they can interact within seconds, WebRTC is quickly becoming a perfect solution.

With the two solutions, they also happen to share the same transport standards which means you can utilize WebRTC with a VoIP endpoint. Although you would have to convert the signaling protocol so the endpoint for VoIP would understand everything correctly, this is something that could be done quite easily by your IT professional and it’s something more and more businesses are choosing to do every year. In truth, all it requires is a gateway between the signaling path and the media.

For multi-party or two-way conferencing, many businesses and individuals are choosing VoIP. However, we mustn’t forget there are several other things you can do with WebRTC – it isn’t just a one-trick pony. For example, you can:

  • Share screens
  • Add video to endpoints (similar to ATMs and retail kiosks)
  • Share data
  • Collaborate in real time
  • Build contextual applications

In further examine the similarities between the two, from a business’s point of view, both the development and management of both systems could be outsourced. After outsourcing to a third-party service provider, you know that the systems will always be up-to-date and you don’t have to worry about the systems ever being down when you’re trying to work.

If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding WebRTC and VoIP, we highly recommend talking to a professional who has the experience and knowledge to help your needs. With all this technology now available in the world, there’s no need to settle for anything less than a solution that meets all of your business communications needs. Once you talk to a professional, they’ll be able to tell you what would work, what wouldn’t work, how you could save money, and how you can offer the most efficient service for both your customers and employees.

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