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What is VOIP?
Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) is one of the fastest moving technologies. VOIP also known as Internet Voice allows you to make voice calls using an Internet connection instead of the usual telephone line of the public switched telephone network (PSTN). Voip manages the delivery of voice information using the Internet Protocol (IP).
VoIP is a term used in IP telephony for a set of facilities.
How is VOIP different from IP telephony? IP telephony is a general term for the technologies that use the Internet Protocol's packet-switched connections to exchange voice, fax, and other forms of information.
VoIP also is referred to as Internet telephony, IP telephony, or Voice over the Internet (VOI)
VoIP specifically refers to sending voice traffic over an IP (Internet Protocol) network. Voice and data convergence refers to sending both voice and data (such as LAN traffic) over any data network (typically an IP network, frame relay network or ATM network).
Difference between VoIP and IP Telephony
So what's the difference between VoIP and IP telephony? IP telephony refers to any "telephone" type
/ communications service carried over IP - this could include faxing VoIP is voice over IP only. Sometimes telephony also includes text messaging.
How Does VOIP Work?
Essentially, VOIP technology converts analogue signals into digital data that is transferred over the Internet. Using the Internet, calls travel as packets of data on shared lines, avoiding the tolls of the PSTN.
If you are calling a regular phone number, the signal is then converted back at the receiver's side.
Making calls using VOIP
Here are the different ways you can make calls using VOIP:
1. Connect a standard phone box to your computer. VoIP converts the voice signal from your telephone into a digital signal that travels over the internet then converts it back at the other end so you can speak to anyone with a regular phone number. When placing a VoIP call using a phone with an adapter, you'll hear a dial tone and dial just as you always have. VoIP may also allow you to make a call directly from a computer using a conventional telephone or a microphone.
2. Using IP phones. IP phones are dedicated phones that have an Ethernet connector that allows you to connect directly with your router.
3. Computer to Computer. A popular example uses Skype, a software which you can download the software free from the Internet. You would also need a microphone, speakers, a sound card and an Internet connection. This option is quite popular with home users.
Benefits of VOIP
Since VoIP converts calls to data and transmits them in message packets on data
networks (including the internet), it considerably lowers phone costs. This
scenario is been of tremendous benefit to the consumers but is viewed as a
serious threat by the conventional telecommunications providers.
The consumer demand and appreciation of cheap voice calls has made VOIP one of the fastest growing areas in telecommunications today. And the trend is bound to continue with steady improvements in Internet bandwith. Many ISPs, cyber-cafes and small businesses are already using VOIP to make extra income.
Additionally since, VoIP is digital, it may offer features and services that are not available with a traditional phone.
Regulation of VOIP
Already questions are been asked about regulation, especially in view of the steady increase in the number of VOIP service providers. The traditionalists are demanding for a legal and regulatory framework for VoIP.
Presently most countries don't regulate IP telephony services. The reasoning is that
VOIP's unregulated environment appears to promote competition and innovation which ultimately benefits consumers. However, there is
continuous pressure from the powerful interests of the telephony world, as they claim that regulatory exemptions give VOIP an unfair advantage.
But to consumers, the present scenario is ideal - more competition, more -innovation and of course, VOIP means talk is cheap.
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