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What is VoIP?
VoIP is a telecommunications system that is rapidly replacing the old analog system that has been in place for over a hundred years. That doesn’t mean VoIP is new. It has actually been in use for more than a decade. Many people don’t even realize how widely this system is being used.
VoIP is the acronym for Voice over Internet Protocol. This simply means that calls are transmitted over the internet as opposed to wires or cables. Anyone with high speed internet is able to use this technology. Many phone companies have been using this service in order to provide lower long distance services and better voice quality of over seas calls.
You may have seen these long numbers that you dial before making a call? The companies offering these discounted long distance calls are able to do this by transmitting your call over their VoIP service. It costs them almost nothing, therefore they are able to pass the savings on to you, and still make a profit.
Many people have completely replaced their traditional phone service with a VoIP service, and many others use VoIP in addition to a traditional landline. The reason many people are unwilling to give the landline is because VoIP service providers are known to have poor or non-existent 911 service, your number won’t be listed in the phone directory, 411 service is not offered, and many other services you have become accustomed to having, may not be offered.
However, this is also changing rapidly. VoIP service providers are adding more and more features every day. And because the service is virtual (over the internet) it doesn’t cost them much more to offer these extras. Which means you can get the same high quality service you get now, at a fraction of the cost. Of course, traditional phone companies charge much more than they need to, but that is besides the point.
How VoIP Works
For VoIP to work, there needs to be a way to change the analog phone signals into digital signals that can be sent over the internet. Currently two ways have been developed to do this. One is a function built into the phone itself, and the other is an external ATA.
VoIP phones have the function built in to change the signal from analog to digital. They look just like regular phones, except they have an Ethernet port instead of a phone jack connector. The Ethernet port allows the phone to communicate with the digital server over the internet.
There are some cheaper versions that use software installed on your computer to help you make calls, but with a VoIP phone, you don’t have to be sitting at your computer, or any computer. All you need is to be connected to the internet. This could be at any hot spot, anywhere.
Analogue Terminal Adapter
An Analogue Terminal Adapter or ATA, is an external box that connects to your analog phone and changes the analog signal into a digital one, allowing you to make calls over the internet on your regular phone.
How VoIP Got Started
VoIP was introduced to the world in 1995 by a small company located in Israel. At that time, the service could only be used to call another person using the same system, who had the same VoIP software installed on his computer.
Since then, VoIP has rapidly transformed the world of telecommunications. It is estimated that more people are currently using VoIP than traditional phone systems.
Businesses use this technology as an affordable way to present a professional image, without the high cost of traditional phone systems. Plans are offered in wide range of prices. Of course, the more you pay, the more you get, but overall, the plans from the various companies are quite comparable in terms of cost and services offered.
Benefits of Using VoIP
VoIP offers tow major benefits:
- High quality service at affordable prices
- Increased functionality
VoIP phone service is cheaper than traditional phone service. This is largely due to the fact that the big phone companies over-charge for their services, and nickle and dime you to death with extra fees for each extra service. VoIP service providers generally have one flat rate that includes everything you want from a phone service.
And since you are already paying for internet, you might see the VoIP service as being free. This is because most customer to customer calls on the same service are free. You may pay a small annual charge, but that is usually less than one month of services from a traditional phone company. Plus, you do not have to pay extra for each little thing you want to add, such as caller ID, call forwarding and call answer.
With VoIP, some of the functions that are extremely difficult, if not impossible with traditional phone services, are very easy. This includes:
- Routing your calls to anyplace you have your VoIP phone plugged into the network.
- Mobility – you can use your mobile VoIP phone anywhere you have an internet connection.
- Manageability – you can change your plan or add features anytime, online. You never have to wait for the service guy to come to your home.
So, what is VoIP? Is the easy, inexpensive solution to all of your calling and faxing needs. With most companies offering free trials, there is no reason why you shouldn’t give it a try today.