If you’ve ever used a communications app like Skype that lets you make calls over the Internet, you’ve used a VOIP, or Voice Over Internet Protocol. Also known as Internet telephony or broadband telephony, VOIP is a type of technology that lets users place phone calls using a broadband Internet connection instead of a regular phone line. Some VOIP phone services work by allowing users to call anyone with a telephone number, while others require both users to have the same VOIP app or service. Other kinds of VOIPs will allow users to use a traditional phone line to connect to a VOIP adapter.
How Does VOIP Work?
VOIP services or applications work by converting a user’s voice into a digital signal that is then sent over the Internet. If you use a computer to make a VOIP call, the signal travels from your computer to a cable modem to the Internet, while if you use VOIP to call a phone line, the signal goes to a phone adapter and is then converted to a typical telephone signal before reaching another person. You can also use a VOIP service wirelessly by enabling a hot spot on your phone to connect to the Internet. Often, public areas like airports or libraries offer free access to these hot spots.
How Do I Make a VOIP Call?
You can make a VOIP call in one of two ways: by using a VOIP service like Ooma or Skype to place a call through your computer, or by using a VOIP-enabled phone. To make a VOIP call from a computer, download the necessary app, make sure your broadband Internet is enabled, enter the recipient’s phone number or username, and place the call. You will need a microphone connected to your computer to hear the other person.
To make a VOIP phone call, make sure your broadband Internet connection is active, and then place the call like you usually would on your phone with a VOIP adapter.
What Are the Advantages of VOIP?
Using VOIP has several advantages over traditional telephone services. These include:
- VOIP services are typically free, or cost less than a normal phone line
- VOIP services often offer additional features, such as chat or instant messaging, that are not available with normal telephone networks
- When using VOIP, you are able to use your computer and phone at the same time
- You can often talk to multiple people at the same time and see them using video
These advantages usually mean that the cost of international calls is significantly reduced or even free. You can also get both a broadband Internet connection and traditional phone line for one price instead of buying both separately.
What Are the Disadvantages of VOIP?
However, VOIP can also have some disadvantages when compared to regular telephone networks, such as:
- During power outages, VOIP services may not work
- VOIP services can not always be used to call 911 in an emergency
- Many VOIP services do not offer a directory or listing of telephone numbers, so you must know the person you are calling’s number beforehand
VOIP services have been growing in popularity over the past few decades due to their low cost, ease of use, and advantages when making long distance or international phone calls. While they have not completely replaced the traditional PTSN (Public Switched Telephone Network), new technological advances promise to make them even more popular and convenient in the future.