VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol allows voice communications and multimedia to be transmitted over the internet. It is a powerful tool, allowing people to make free calls to people around the world, while previously this would have cost a substantial amount of money. Discover how this advanced technology works and the implications it has for the average user.
How it works
Voice over Internet Protocol permits the transfer of communication services such as voice, fax and SMS over the internet. A VoIP telephone call essentially involves signaling, media channel setup, digitisation of the voice signal, encoding and transmission of IP packets over the network.
On the receiving side, the reverse steps need to be taken, including the decoding of packets and digital to analog conversion in order to hear the audio communication in its original form.
Types of VoIP
There are three types of commonly-used VoIP technologies: IP phones, software VoIP and mobile and integrated VoIP.
IP phones are quite ubiquitous as more and more company over broadband telephony are using it.
Software VoIP has grown greatly in popularity particularly among people looking to reduce the cost of local and overseas calls. While long distance calls are usually very expensive, software VoIP allows users to make these calls free or at a nominal amount, and also permits video conferencing.
Mobile and integrated VoIP also enjoy great popularity as it allows smartphones and other devices that can access to the internet to make phone calls and send and receive SMS messages using 3G and Wi-Fi.
Business use While the ease of use and low cost of VoIP technology has made it very popular among consumers, corporate users have also begun embracing the protocol. VoIP solutions providers have begun offering all-in-one packages that allow virtually all forms of communication such as phone calls, faxes, email, and web conferences to be delivered to any phone, including cell phones. VoIP also allows voice and data communications to be made over a single network, greatly boosting efficiency.
Issues VoIP does have some disadvantages. As IP routers handle traffic on a first-come-first-served basis, high traffic can cause problems in delivery. VoIP calls are also susceptible to power failure across the routers and cable modems. They are also vulnerable to hacking which can lead to recorded conversations and harvesting of customer data.
The final word
VoIP has transformed communication, particularly during the recession, by permitting people and businesses to make calls and participate in web conferences virtually free of charge.