Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, is becoming the way to communicate these days. It’s seen in just about everything from cell phones to online voice conferencing. It’s mostly used in business and with large scale companies that have expansive voice calling across large mediums, as well as, large email traffic along an Ethernet network. It’s a direct alternative to digital phone systems, which uses existing phone lines to transmit information over a traditional phone cable.
What is VoIP?
Technically speaking, VoIP refers to any application where packet‐based data networks are used to packet switch telephone calls in real‐time. In regular terms, VoIP converts data, in particular, your voice, into a digital signal and then transmits that signal over the internet. The benefits to this is that the system uses the existing internet connection as a way to make free phone calls. You’re transmitting your voice over the Ethernet like you send an email, avoiding the phone companies and the subsequent service charges.
Traditional phone calls are done by circuit switching. Circuit switching involves making a call on a line and having that signal connect to a series of lines between your phone and the one you’re calling, creating a circuit. The circuit is only broken when the call ends, freeing up the lines for other calls. VoIP works with packet switching, where the voice signal is digitized, packaged and sent online. That signal is then broken up into separate signal packets, which is then sent to several routers for convenience and to keep the pathways clear for other data packets traveling the lines. The packet is then reassembled at the destination in the original order it was sent. This moves data quickly and efficiently and allows for higher volume than circuit switching.
How is VoIP Used?
VoIP is a very efficient and reliable phone system, and is commonly seen into three versions in business and home settings.
Analog Telephone Adaptor (ATA)
An ATA version of VoIP allows the connection of a standard phone with a computer or internet connection. This is commonly referred to an analog-to-digital conversion. In the case of VoIP translation, it takes the analog signal from a traditional phone and converts that into a digital signal. That data is then transmitted over the internet. The process requires an adequate converter that plugs into the phone jack of your home or connects to the phone line directly.
These are specialized phones that look like everyday phones but come with a handset, cradle and more buttons to press. Standard phones use RJ-11 phone connectors (commonly seen on traditional home phones) but IP phones use RJ-45 Ethernet connectors (more elongated and commonly used with computer hardware). IP phones connect directly to a router, either with a cable or through Wi-Fi, and already have the hardware and software necessary to make full IP voice calls. The versatility of these models allows callers to connect from any Wi-Fi hot spot.
Possibly the easiest and most recognizable way to use VoIP. All you need is a computer with an internet connection and the necessary software to allow VoIP calls. Many companies offer low cost or free services to use this method and it’s more visible in programs that offer free or low cost long-distance calling. All you need is the software, a microphone, reliable speakers, a sound card and a reliably fast internet connection.
For more information about VoIP services for your business or home, contact us today.