Voice Over IP (VoIP) is one of the technologies that will become big this decade. Research firm IDC recently estimated the amount of residential VoIP subscribers in the United States will soar from 3 million people this year to 27 million by 2009. It's as good as certain that VoIP - or net phone - will become a booming industry.
But what exactly is VoIP? What is it good for, and what are the disadvantages? Have a look at this VoIP writeup from Austin Akalanze.
In a world where things happen pretty quickly, there is a quiet revolution going on around the world. It has been ten or more years in the making and threatening to force a new paradigm shift in communication. Having its debut in Israel, and much of its recent activities in the US, VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol is about to take the communication world by storm.
But what is VoIP you may ask? VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. Even though the name sounds exotic, voip is really simple. It is a way of transmitting voice data over the internet from point A to point B or more plainly, a way of making calls using the internet.
And what do I need to do that? The answer to that is that it depends. But regardless of what method or system you employ, some basic hardware are needed. These are a broadband internet access and a computer, and depending on your service, an ATA adaptor, an IP phone, a speaker, a modem, or a regular phone.
If you are wondering, here is how it works. Doing a voip call can be as familiar as picking up the phone and dialing the numbers. It can also be as novel as plugging your earphone and typing your numbers. Which way you go will depend largely on your service.
VoIPing with ATA provide one common way to use VoIP. But what is an ATA? It is an adaptor that converts the analog signal that is generated by your standard phone into a digital signal. It is this digital signal that is then sent over the internet. The adaptor makes it possible for the user to connect a regular phone to the computer and then to the internet.
In some instances, it may be necessary to install some software to be able to make calls. Having done that, you are ready to make calls as with your regular phone.
Voiping with IP phones provides another option. IP phones have the feel and look of a normal telephone. IP phones are different in that all the bells and whistles are programed into the phone. Also instead of plunging to a wall like a regular phone, IP phones plug into a router using an Ethernet connector. This feature saves you the trouble of software installation and also provides portability, since you can use your IP phone from other locations providing the same service.
You can also do Voiping between computers.
VoIP calls between two computers between computers are called computer-to-computer calls.
To do a computer-to-computer call, it is not necessary to have a service provider or a calling plan. What is needed is a good Voip software, a broadband or DSL internet connection, a speaker and a sound card.
The VoIP software is what makes the connections and transmission possible. In most cases, these sofwares can be picked up for free on the internet.
Except for the cost of purchasing your hardware and accessories and the cost of your internet access, there are no other costs associated with making these calls, regardless of how many you make or how long they are. This makes these computer-to-computer calls virtually free.
What is good about VoIP?
Have you noticed how you can never know or understand all the charges that come with your regular telephone service? VoIP is not anywhere near as bad. Because the internet is a global thing, VoIP is not regulated by the FCC. As a result, it is not taxed the way the standard telephones are taxed. Instead, providers assess fees for access time for network use, and routing through landlines. But this is not anywhere near the outrageous taxes that assessed on standard landline and nobody understand.
Depending on your VoIP plan, it is possible to talk for as long as you wish, without incurring any additional charges, other than your regular service fee.
In addition, you can have several people on the same call from different parts of the world without any additional cost.
Also, it may not be necessary to maintain a phone line just to make a call if you have a broadband internet connection. This will save you the money that otherwise would go to pay for the telephone line. This is because you will be making your calls through your broadband internet connection.
In most cases, the quality of the call is comparable or better than regular phone.
And unlike landlines, VoIP has the potential for portability.
What is not so pleasant about VoIP?
There are some not so pleasant things about Voice over IP phones. Here are they:
VoIP services as at present do not always connect directly to 911
emergency services. This can create unpleasant emergency situations. The FCC is however laying the ground rules to make 911 emergency connections a standard feature of VoIP
Also, not all voip services are functional during power outages.
And finally, directory assistance and white page listings are not usually standard
features of VoIP services.