The term “VoIP” (Voice over Internet Protocol) can refer to any one of several types of phone systems. A VoIP telephone or IP phone uses digital voice over IP technology for putting and receiving telephone calls over an IP network, like the Internet. Unlike conventional telephones, VoIP telephones do not use regular telephones’ circuits as the medium of transmission. Instead, these telephones use voice signals transmitted through the Internet from one VoIP-enabled device to another, or from one IP-enabled computer to another.
VoIP telephones are also referred to as IP telephones, hosted-and-skype applications, or ICP devices. There is no hardware required for this type of telephone, and there is no complexity involved with setup. In contrast, conventional telephone service (POTS) requires an adapter and a router, and even then it is not clear how much traffic can be generated from a single adapter and router. These considerations mean that it would be difficult, if not impossible, for a business to implement a VoIP telephones system over a traditional telephone system.
One major advantage of VoIP telephones is their flexibility. Traditional telephone service cannot allow VoIP telephones to make use of extensions, which allows them to make full use of digital voice features. However, with the addition of VoIP phones, it has been possible to introduce video and audio transmissions over a local area network (LAN). This is true especially for digital faxes, as it is not possible for a fax machine to send faxes to a person using a standard telephone line, because there is no local area network (LAN). In other words, a fax sent from an IP-enabled device is local to the receiver, and so it is able to make use of the existing LAN network.
There are two different approaches to VoIP telephones systems.
One approach is known as software-based VoIP phone where the user needs to install a special application on the computer, which has the ability to make VoIP calls. The second approach is hardware-based, where the operating system and the specific VoIP software need to be installed on the computer. Both these approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. For instance, software-based VoIP telephones work just like any other telephone, whereas hardware-based telephones need special equipment in order to function.
Software-based VOIP phones work on the basis of packet-switching technology. In simple words, it uses the Internet as a communication medium and it makes use of digital protocols such as IP packets to transmit voice and data. IP packets transmitted over the Internet are subject to ‘loss’ for a certain period of time. If the loss persists, the person using the telephone is likely to experience a dropped call. In case of hardware-based phones, the software is present in the form of a device, which enables the user to make use of the facilities offered by the telephone company.
Most VoIP providers provide an easy-to-use interface, where the user can select a plan and a long distance between the provider and the local phone. When the distance is too far, the VoIP provider may charge an additional fee. In addition, in order to make a call, the user needs to have a broadband internet connection telephone, VoIP provider, or both in order to make a successful call. Thus, it becomes necessary to decide on a long distance plan that will take care of the VoIP provider’s fee.
The features of VoIP phone allows the user to make unlimited calls to landlines and mobile phones. However, the VoIP service provider restricts you from making unlimited calls to VOIP services (out-of-Internet-ports) as well as to any fax machine or fax machines. In order to test if this is the case, you need to call the VoIP services provider and find out. It is essential to call from a residential landline number as opposed to an answering machine. Even if you are able to make a successful call, the call might go to voicemail, which you have no control over.
VoIP telephones have a number of advantages over traditional telephone systems.
- You can simply check your email while speaking to someone in the same room.
- Additionally, VoIP technology also allows you to conduct both video and voice conference, depending on the type of session.
- It has become possible to get rid of traditional phone lines and switch to VoIP based private branch exchange (PBX) phone lines for better business communications.