If you are unfamiliar with the concept of VoIP now is the time to jump on board and start learning about the capabilities and possibilities VoIP has to offer. Although IP telephony has been around since the mid 1990s it wasn’t until recent years with the increased availability of high speed broadband Internet that VoIP has gained popularity. Now that high speed Internet is here it is predicted that the upward trend of VoIP will continue.
Here we will take a look of what VoIP is, how it works, and where it is likely headed in the next few years.
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and is a telephone system that is integrated with an existing public phone system and IP wide area networks over the Internet. The early form of VoIP was known as IP (Internet Protocol) telephony in which you could connect a device to your PC and call someone over the Internet.
The performance of early IP telephony was rather unreliable with the service being very spotty due to slower Internet connections as compared to today’s VoIP applications. Additionally, you were unable to call someone unless they had the same IP telephony setup to receive your calls on the other end of the connection.
The modern form of IP telephony which is VoIP allows you to easily talk to someone over the Internet via a high speed Internet connection and a simple common software application such as Skype. In addition to making a phone call you can also talk face to face with a person via a web cam. The calls that you make are routed over the Internet instead of over a conventional telephone line.
The VoIP Phone
As recent as two years ago VoIP phones were beginning to be considered as an alternative to costly telephone line connections and service. The quality of the audio has improved immensely over the early IP telephony configuration and some businesses have implemented a VoIP phone system with the inception of high speed Internet connections.
The VoIP setup in a business setting requires a phone with an adapter, high speed Internet connection, and an account with a VoIP service. When you initiate a call it travels over the Internet via your computer network to conventional phone lines. The result is cheaper long distance rates especially if you are calling overseas.
Using a VoIP service you can also connect more than one location such as field offices within a company through a single phone system and erases the long distance charges regardless of where you are located. VoIP is still considered up and coming so VoIP still cannot replace conventional phone system but it does significantly decrease your costs when it is implemented in the proper environment.
PC to PC Telephony
Making phone calls from one PC to another is also another method for VoIP and has a different setup than VoIP phone systems. If you use an online service such as Skype your VoIP phone is replaced by a set of headphones that contain a boom for speaking to the person on the other end of the phone. Your PC provides the Internet connection for routing the call and the person you are calling answers the call using the same setup as we described here. All you need is a free VoIP software download such as Skype to initiate VoIP calling. You can make free phone calls, use a paid account with a VoIP service that provides you with more options, and you can dial a landline phone from your PC using your VoIP service.
Looking Into the Future
With the inception of applications such as Skype and high speed broadband access the future looks promising for VoIP telephony. Several strides in VoIP telephony have recently been achieved which has captured the attention of many businesses such as long distance calling at next to no cost and new applications such as Session Initiation Protocol.
SIP is an innovative technology that oversees VoIP connectivity by capturing server responses and then handling requests that come through with VoIP communication. For example, if you initiate a call using VoIP, Session Initiation Protocol is capable of determining the type of system the call recipient is using. SIP technology automatically establishes the proper parameters for successful communication between a VoIP system and conventional telephone line or a VoIP to VoIP communication.
Another step forward for VoIP technology was recently initiated by Cisco when they rolled out a VoIP phone that contains touch screen technology. Although this type of technology is fairly new on the VoIP scene Cisco reports that it has already sold millions of this type of VoIP phone.
What happens in the next couple of years in terms of VoIP communications will be driven by new technologies and applications that make VoIP communications more reliable making it a viable option which will save businesses and individuals a lot of money on telephony services.