A Guide to Information on Internet Phone or VOIP
What you are about to read… will reveal to you what you should know about a new telephone communication technology called Internet Phone or Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
VoIP came about in 1995 when some computer programmers made voice connections between computers. Later that year, a software package was developed, and using the modem, speakers, microphone and sound card, one computer user was able to speak to another.
The process used involves converting the analog voice to digitized form. That involves breaking the voice down into steps that are then assigned numeric values. Then the data is compressed. After compression, the data is divided into packets that are transmitted over the Internet. Identifying information such as origin, destination, etc., are added that allows for reconstruction at the receiving end. At this point the packets are converted back to analog and the person on the other end of the line can hear the caller’s voice.
As Internet Phone technology improved, by 1998, gateways had been established allowing a PC to connect to a phone. Later that year, it was possible to make phone-to-phone connections using the Internet. Phone-to-phone connections still required a computer to initiate the call, but once the connection was established, callers could use a standard phone set. Today, the computer is no longer needed. All one needs is a telephone (your regular telephone will do), an adapter, and an Internet connection either broadband or DSL, and a service provider. The telephone is connected to the adapter, which is connected to the Internet connection without the need to connect to a computer. For the best quality and to get normal phone company features such as call waiting, etc., you need a VoIP service provider. There are a number of them competing for your business so you need to do some research to find one that is best for you.
If you sign up with an Internet Phone service provider you can get unlimited calls within the country for a small monthly fee! International calls can also be made for a lot less than the cost of regular service. Features like call forwarding, call waiting, voicemail, caller ID and 3way-calling, are included with Internet Phone at no extra charge. While you’re talking on the phone, you can send pictures and documents at the same time.
Like all new technologies, VoIP had some problems at first, but is now becoming more reliable and receiving wider acceptance. One thing it has done for you already is that phone companies are beginning to use the technology to provide cheaper long distance rates.
At this time there are several disadvantages to using Internet Phone. Unlike telephone company service, you will lose your connection during a power outage. The solution to this problem is to have battery backups installed.
There is also a problem calling 911. But, there is a system in development to overcome this problem. There are also call quality and reliability problems with VOIP. The two biggest issues that affect call quality are the distance of the call and the speed of the Internet connection. However, as the system matures, these are becoming less and less of a problem.
In the future, VoIP will probably become the standard for telephone service. So, go out and get hooked up with Internet Phone and save yourself some money.