How Do Cloud-Based Phone Systems Work?

Exploring the Technology Behind Cloud-Based Phone Systems


Cloud-based phone systems allow businesses to take advantage of multiple channels of communication more efficiently, by unifying voice, text, video calls within one solution. There have never been so many methods to keep teams and customers connected. However, with the increasing need for people to be able to communicate from anywhere ,the old ISDN/PSTN analogue phone lines can no longer handle the data and needs of a mobile workforce.

So, how does a cloud-based phone system bridge this gap and provide the platform for a more modern communication network? Here’s what you need to know.


What Are Cloud-Based Phone Systems?

A cloud-based phone system takes the existing analogue phone network built on fixed cables running into a building and moves the entire system onto the internet. It converts the voice signal received by your desk phone – or other devices – into a digital signal, allowing that call to be managed and transferred in a number of ways.

Cloud phone systems handle these processes at specialised data centres, offsite – meaning your office isn’t lumbered with an overly-large onsite system that needs constant supervision and maintenance. Elite Group helps businesses to identify which cloud-based phone systems they could take advantage of and provide options based on their specific needs and budget.


How Do Cloud-Based Phone Systems Work?


A lot goes into transferring and converting the signals sent by phone to a digital signal suitable for cloud calling. The technology may seem complicated, but it will become a lot more straightforward as we break it down:

Step 1 – A call is made to/from an IP phone


A call is made or received by an IP phone – if you’re wondering, IP desk phones are phones that can connect to the internet. The voice of the speaker is then received by the phone’s receiver. This is where the conversion process begins.


Step 2 – The voice is transmitted to your office router


Whether your IP phone is connected to the internet via an ethernet cable or WiFi. The received voice is transferred to a local router – if you’re in a business, this will likely be your main office router. The router collects the voice signals before moving it on once again.


Step 3 – The voice travels from the router to the internet


The router then sends the voice signals collected by the phone to your internet connection, which acts as a middleman between your voice and the cloud service provider of your choice.


Step 4 – The Voice is transferred from the internet connection to the cloud phone system


The voice signal is transferred from the internet to the cloud phone system – the system which allows your call management processes to become much more flexible and streamlined. However, for the purposes of this call, the signal is then sent back to the business.



The digital signal is then sent back by the cloud service provider, travelling along a traditional phone system – also known as the PSTN network. This allows the call to connect externally, as well as internally.


It sounds like a massive undertaking, but all of the above happens in less than the blink of an eye.


VoIP and SIP



The above is a very simplified version of this process. On the technical side of things, one point that should be explained is the inclusion of VoIP.


VoIP stands for ‘Voice over Internet Protocol’ and is the technical term for the process that converts your voice into digital signal. If we want to get even more technical, VoIP systems use a technology called SIP – ‘Session Initiation Protocol’ – to create a virtual phone system that sits atop your existing broadband connection. As these virtual phone lines travel along your broadband, multiple digital lines can exist at once, as opposed to a traditional phone line, which can only handle one line. This is what allows businesses using cloud phone services to have large numbers of phone lines active at once.


Why You Should Switch to a Cloud-Based Phone System


When PSTN phone systems are switched off in 2025, analogue phone lines in the UK will be rendered obsolete. If your business is still operating on a traditional phone system, you need to put plans in place for a move to something more suitable – like a cloud phone system.


Cloud phone systems are also quick and easy to set up, in comparison to traditional phone lines. Aside from this, cloud phone services simply offer much more in the way of advanced features, flexibility and variety than analogue phones. Features like unlimited calling, international calls, auto attendant, call recording and sharing, call forwarding, video meetings, business SMS messaging, seamless flexible working and more, barely scratch the surface of what the best cloud phone systems can offer your business.