Living in this age and time, if you still haven't heard of VoIP, then you better fine-tune yourself a bit. It is the acronym for Voice over Internet Protocol and is a revolutionary technology in itself, potential to rewrite the destiny of telephones. To put it in short, the technology allows to convert analog audio signals – which is produced when you speak on the phone – to digital data. As we all know, data in its digital form can be smoothly transmitted over the virtual Internet.
Practical usability of VoIP
Thus, in other words, VoIP can easily convert or upgrade a standard Internet connection into a telephony device, from which you can place free phone calls. To make things easier for you further, a host of free VoIP software is readily available on the web. Thus, one can easily bypass the phone companies and place free Internet calls through their phone devices.
Reinvention of the wheel
The VoIP technology is nothing but a smart reinvention of the wheel. These days, the technology has attained sufficient maturity and thus, you can choose from three different flavours of this service.
- ATA: The most popular and certainly the simplest way is through using a device called Analog Telephone Adaptor or ATA. It enables users to thread in a standard telephone device to an Internet connection to facilitate the VoIP service. It may be noted here, ATA is a analog-to-digital converter. It accepts analog signals or data from traditional phone devices and converts it to digital data, which is then transmitted through the Internet. In fact, these days many service providers are offering free ATA service to customers in a plug-and-play box. All you've to do is take out the ATA from the given box and connect the cable coming out from the phone to the ATA. Bang! you're done and now start placing your VoIP calls using your Internet service.
- IP phone: These are specially designed phone devices though they appear just like normal phone sets and come with a handset, keypad or buttons and a cradle. Unlike the RJ-11 connectors in standard phones, these specially designed devices come with RJ-45 Ethernet connector. Thus, these gadgets connect to your router directly and are loaded with all the necessary hardware and software that are required to handle IP calls.
- Computer-to-computer: This is one of the easiest options to avail the VoIP service. You will get reasonably-priced software from the market that you need to place this type of VoIP calls. Apart from the software, you'll need a microphone, a sound card, speakers and of course an Internet connectivity to make use of this facility. The only charge you need to pay on availing this service is the rental cost of your Internet service provider.
Reasons behind popularity
There're basically two factors behind the popularity of VoIP.
- Reasonable cost and
- Impressive functionality
Usually, phone calls via VoIP cost peanuts as compared to traditional phone calls. There's also some additional cost saving, as the technology uses a single network to carry both voice and data. You can even place ISD calls on VoIP for free.
- Impressive functionality of VoIP mainly involves certain things that are almost impossible to achieve with conventional telephony networks. These can be summed up as following:
- All your incoming phone calls are by default routed to your VoIP phone, irrespective of its plug-in location in the network. Just carry the device while you're on a trip and simply plug it to an Internet connection. You won't miss your incoming calls.
VoIP phones also allow call center executives to work from any geographical location, using a reliable Internet connection.
This is all about the basics involving VoIP. Considering all the pros and cons, it seems likely that the technology is here to stay.