VoIP Revealed

VoIP Revealed

Internet Phone is the Future of Voice Communications

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. The basic concept is also referred to as Internet Telephony or Digital Telephone. VoIP includes any voice communications routed through any network using TCP/IP. The microphone sends digitized voice signals over the packet-switched network and is then received at the other side over the other party’s speakers. It’s an alternative to using a dedicated land line or a circuit switch that carries the voice communication with conventional telephone services.

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Using today’s high speed or broadband networks, the conversation is able to transpire relatively trouble free. Its earliest renditions have had some lag or delay between send/receive, but this is largely avoided with more efficient software support and faster digital lines. The result is that most VoIP conversations today will almost give you pin-drop acoustic sensitivity that a regular phone service can.

A standard telephone service will provide a higher standard of audio quality. The real advantage to a landline over VoIP is consistency. VoIP will sound great at times of low traffic in your local network, but is liable to sound horribly muddled at times of high network traffic. Other strikes against VoIP compared to the regular phone line include a greater potential for technical problems with the VoIP line. If the power goes out in your house, chances are you will not have phone service.

The predominant reason people turn to VoIP is the incredible cost savings on long distance calls. An added benefit to VoIP services is the flexibility of long distance calling. Depending on your provider, you can make calls from anywhere you have high speed internet access. Since your voice is being carried over TCP/IP on the internet, it means that once your phone has access to a high speed internet line, a call to the neighbor requires no more resources than a call across the continent. Most VoIP service providers have plans that charge a flat monthly fee for unlimited long distance.

The advent of instant internet message and voice communications have caused the prices of conventional telephone services to drop considerably. Even if you don’t use VoIP, chances are your long distance services carriers plan with unlimited minutes is influenced by competing VoIP services.

What you need for VoIP:

  • Start with an analogue telephone, your household cordless is fine.
  • Broadband or high speed internet connection. DSL or Cable.
  • Telephone Adaptor (ATA) or BroadVoice router. This is what converts that analogue telephone to VoIP data that will get sent through the modem. This hardware is sometimes called a "VoIP Gateway".
  • Router or hub is required if any other device besides the phone will be using your internet service. You need a router to give other devices including computers an IP address.
  • Now you’re ready to subscribe to a VoIP Service.

Despite some question as to whether or not the technology was ready for widespread use, 2005 became the year that proved VoIP communications are here to stay. If you’re thinking of going VoIP for the first time, you will want to understand that the service is not as good as a conventional land line. However, in most instances, the audio quality is only marginal.

VoIP communications can have some problems with latency due to the way packet data is transmitted over the internet. There is nothing that ensures data packets carrying your voice to Grandma Millie are delivered in proper sequential order. The result of this is occasional lag or latency especially over long distances where your voice packet comes into contact with more switching and buffering. Many of these problems are being addressed with support from a relatively new cottage industry creating better packet stream technologies. Ubicom’s StreamEngine Technology is an example of a company creating solutions aimed at perfecting the timing of data traffic through the internet.

VoIP will also work with dedicated hardware. A serious VoIP household might use a digital phone or IP Phone. A digital phone is simply a phone that is able to connect directly to the internet with out the digital adaptor. Just plug the IP phone into your router and it’ll take an IP address and you VoIP away. There are even more sophisticated VoIP phones that include video. Some die hards might even use their computer as a VoIP phone, talking through a mic and listening through their system’s speakers. But most people prefer a handset.