Monday, 17 September 2012 00:00

An overview of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

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 Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) telephony is the wave of the future and is going to change the way you think about making long distance phone calls. You may have heard the word VOIP, but you didn't quite understand what all the excitement was about. Well basically,  VoIP is the transmission of a signal over the internet, it must be changed in to a digital signal, from an analog signal and thats about it a pure digital signal sent via the internet. VOIP technology makes sense in terms of ROI, from both an economic and a scalability aspect. More and more businesses are already installing VoIP systems  as this technology makes its way into our everyday language, our lives, and our homes.

VOIP is affecting many of today's industries, because it means that by getting your hands on some of the free software that's available right now, you can totally avoid your telephone company, and start making long distance phone calls for free! This emerging technology has totally changed the phone system of the entire world! You may have seen television commercials for one of the inventors of VOIP -  AT&T is setting up VOIP calling in several areas of the U.S. and there are other major VOIP players on the scene as well such as Vonage and Magic Jack, which are relying on viral advertising to get the word out. Even some local cable television companies like Cox, Comcast and Time Warner are now bringing on VOIP telephone service at comparatively low rates to their customers.

One of the interesting components about VOIP is that there's not just one way to make a VOIP call. The most commonly use of this technology right now, is ATA. Using the ATA (analog telephone adaptor), you connect your regular telephone to your computer or Internet connection. The ATA is an analog-to-digital converter and it takes the analog signal from your phone and converts it into digital data and transmits it over the Internet so you are able to make VoIP calls. This is how AT&T handles VOIP calls. The ATA is free with their services and using an ATA for VOIP is so simple that anyone can do it. Open the box, plug the cable from your phone into the ATA instead of the wall socket, and you're ready to begin making VOIP calls. Depending on your computer, where you live, and what type of Internet connection you have, you may need to also install VOIP software onto your computer, but this shouldn't be too problematical for most people.

The other method of VOIP is computer to computer interaction. This is arguably the easiest way to use VOIP. There are no fees for long distance calls and there are several companies offering free or low-cost software right now for you to make use of this technology. All you need is the software, a microphone, speakers, a sound card and a broadband or cable DSL Internet connection, and you can start using VOIP service right away. There is no charge for any computer-to-computer VOIP call, no matter how far away they are, except your normal monthly ISP fee. It's a simple matter of routing thousands of phone calls through a circuit switch and into an IP gateway. Once received on the other side of the gateway, the VOIP calls are decompressed, reassembled and routed back to a local circuit switch. Chances are, you've already been using the VOIP technology without even being aware of it, any time you've made a long distance telephone call recently. Many of the major phone companies are already using VoIP technology to reduce their own bandwidth.

VOIP via IP phones, look just like a definitive telephone. They have a handset, cradles and buttons. But a VOIP phone uses an Ethernet connector instead of the normal phone connectors.  Look for Wi-Fi IP phones to be available in the near future, which will allow you to make VoIP calls from any Wi-Fi hotspot. This will allow you to take your VOIP phone with you when you travel, and stop in at any Internet café, hotel or other location where you can use your Wi-Fi laptop, and you can use VoIP technology to "phone home" from anywhere in the world. VoIP phones connect directly to your router and all the hardware and software is already built inside to handle your VOIP calls.

With the elimination of long-distances charges, unregulated charges, and all the freebies that come standard with VOIP service, it can actually amount to a significant savings for you. If you’re considering replacing your traditional telephone service with VOIP, there are some possible considerations you should be aware of: Some VOIP services will not work during power outages and the VoIP service provider may not offer backup power. The two biggest advantages of VOIP for home users are price and flexibility. Currently, most VOIP providers offer calling plans similar to that of cell-phone companies, which are commonly called "minute-rate" plans, for as little as $35 a month. And as with cell-phone plans, you can also get unlimited plans for around $80 a month.

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