What is VoIP?
VoIP is an acronym for Voice Over Internet Protocol, or in more common terms phone service over the Internet.
If you have a reasonable quality Internet connection you can get a phone service delivered through your Internet connection instead of from your local phone company.
Some people use VoIP in addition to their traditional phone service, since VoIP service providers usually offer lower rates than traditional phone companies, but sometimes don't offer 112 service, phone directory listings, or other common phone services. While many VoIP providers offer these services, consistent industry-wide means of offering these are still developing.
How does VoIP work?
A way is required to turn analog phone signals into digital signals that can be sent over the Internet. This function is usually performed by a special telephone, called an IP or VoIP phone which plugs in to your router. These phones range from very simple, straightforward phones to those capable of accessing multiple VoIP lines. The can even be cordless.
Why use VoIP?
There are two major reasons to use VoIP
- Lower Cost
- Increased functionality
In general phone service via VoIP costs less than the equivalent service from traditional sources. This is largely a function of traditional phone services either being monopolies or government entities. There are also some cost savings due to using a single network to carry voice and data. This is especially true when users have existing under-utilized network capacity that they can use for VoIP without any additional costs.
In the most extreme case, users see VoIP phone calls (even international) as FREE. While there is a cost for their Internet service, using VoIP over this service may not involve any extra charges, so the users view the calls as free.
VoIP makes easy some things that are difficult to impossible with traditional phone networks.
- Incoming phone calls are automatically routed to your VoIP phone where ever you plug it into the network. Take your VoIP phone with you on a trip, and anywhere you connect it to the Internet, you can receive your incoming calls. It is even possible to have access to your VoIP line via some modern mobile phones, utilising the phone's internet connection.
- Call center agents using VOIP phones can easily work from anywhere with a good Internet connection.
- For those living abroad, signing up for a telephone number in their original country means that friends and relatives can call much more cheaply than calling an international number
- With a VoIP phone you're not tied to your computer waiting for the other party to come online.
With excellent call quality from even a modest broadband connection speed, convenient phone calling is closer than you think.