With the increased adoption of high-speed Internet across the U.S. and abroad, it has become much easier to send and receive large amounts of data without affecting bandwidth. What this means for consumers is that they can now download huge files quickly, browse multiple web pages simultaneously, and even make telephone calls over the Internet; an emerging technology known as VoIP.
VoIP stands for "Voice over Internet Protocol" and it is quite simply a way of using the Internet to make and receive telephone calls. The primary reason VoIP is becoming so popular is cost and convenience; as VoIP is significantly less expensive than typical local and long distance telephone service offered by the phone companies. Additionally, one high-speed Internet connection can serve for multiple VoIP telephone lines.
How Does VoIP Work?
A normal telephone line would sit there and do nothing if it weren't connected to a network called the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network). This is how the traditional phone companies route telephone calls from one person to another. In VOIP service, the PSTN is replaced by the Internet as the network for routing phone calls, and is proven to be faster, more efficient and cost effective.
Using VoIP, a person's voice is transmitted into digital data that is then sliced into small fragments called packets that are sent across the Internet at lightning speed. These packets are then reconstructed and heard on the receiving phone. Sounds like allot going on during a phone conversation, but most people who use VoIP phones don't even know they are making telephone calls over the Internet; the call quality is that good.
In order for VoIP phone calls to have the same quality that consumers are accustomed to when using traditional phone service, a certain bandwidth (the amount of data that can be sent) is required. Broadband Internet access, either cable or DSL, provides the necessary bandwidth for VoIP phone service to be found acceptable by consumers.
The Features of VoIP
In addition to making high-speed Internet access more cost-effective, VOIP service provides subscribers with significantly cheaper local and long distance telephone service. Most VoIP providers charge between $20 - $25 per month and this includes unlimited calling to the U.S. and Canada.
Additionally, all the features that traditional phone companies sually charge for like voicemail, caller id, call waiting; three-way calling, simultaneous ring and the ability to choose your own area code are included in the price.
Another driver for using VoIP is that it is portable. In other words, consumers can take their phone number anywhere they move to; even if it is just on vacation.
Cost savings, free features, portability -- VoIP is the emerging technology at the root of all these trends, and consumers should expect to see a lot more news about VoIP in the coming months and years. If you haven't used VoIP products yet, try out an Internet phone service like Packet8. They have a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee if you are not satisfied with their service.
Michael Brito (Michael.Brito@comcast.net) is a
freelance writer about VoIP Products and Services.
Discover more information about Packet 8 Internet
Phone Service at: http://www.packet8.net