An Introduction to VoIP and the Way It Works

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.

How Much Bandwidth is Required for VoIP Phones?

A long-standing question for potential VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) consumers is “How much bandwidth does a VoIP phone require to make quality telephone calls?”

First of all, Bandwidth is defined as the ability to transfer data (such as a VoIP telephone call) from one point to another in a fixed amount of time. The higher the bandwidth speed you have, the more data you can send over your Broadband Internet connection.

There are two types of bandwidth at your location: upload bandwidth and download bandwidth. The Upload Bandwidth is the amount of data you can send to the Internet and download bandwidth is the amount of data you can receive from the Internet. The more Internet bandwidth you have from your ISP (Internet Service Provider) the better.

In most cases, the normal VoIP telephone call will use up 90 Kbps (kilobits per second). If you have a Broadband Internet service provider that doesn’t offer much bandwidth then most VoIP providers give you the option to lower the VoIP voice quality by lowering the bandwidth used for VoIP calls to 60 Kbps or, to really conserve your bandwidth, 30 Kbps. Most people can’t tell the difference between the three settings. We suggest you use the high sound quality setting (90 Kpbs in most cases), if bandwidth is not an issue. High VoIP voice quality is generally the default setting but if you are running into a situation where your bandwidth is limited then you can adjust your VoIP bandwidth to one of the lower settings. Some consumers with 128 Kbps upload connections can receive less VoIP service quality due to a poor quality ISP (Internet Service Provider). By selecting a lower quality VoIP bandwidth setting, this problem can be avoided.

If you plan on using a VoIP service provider, should you get a DSL or a Cable Internet access provider? In general, DSL upload bandwidth starts at 128k where as Cable Internet upload bandwidth starts at around 600k. Cable Internet is a little bit more expensive, but it is also about 4-5 times faster than residential DSL and a bit friendlier to a VoIP telephone call. Having said that, both DSL and cable modem high-speed services provide sufficient broadband Internet access bandwidth to support any of the top VoIP service providers. If you are experiencing low Broadband Internet Service provider bandwidth, we suggest you try Packet8 VoIP. Packet8 VoIP boasts an advanced compression technology in which each active voice line uses approximately only 23Kbps of total data throughput, upstream and downstream.

The amount of bandwidth that a VoIP provider requires to make a quality telephone call is only one thing to consider when choosing a VoIP service provider. In fact, there are many things to consider when choosing a VoIP provider. An educated consumer generally results in a satisfied consumer.

Please see VoIP things to consider article (http://www.voipchoices.com/voip-considerations.html) to find a list of more things to consider when choosing a VoIP provider. You can also compare VoIP providers side-by-side by price and features at http://www.VoIPChoices.com