What is VoIP?
Talk for free, or at least much less.
Simply put, VoIP (or Voice over Internet Protocol) is telephony using your broadband Internet connection, or Internet telephony. Traditional telephone service takes your voice and turns it into electronic signals which are sent over telephone company wires. Those signals are then converted into sound by the telephone on the other end.
VoIP, on the other hand, treats voice like any other piece of information being sent over the Internet – by turning it into packets of data. These packets are encoded into data files, sent over the Internet, and decoded back into sound by a computer or another device (such as a VoIP telephone adapter). And since you're charged only when the Internet data is converted and connected to the standard telephone system on the other end, it is significantly cheaper than paying for both sides like a traditional voice calls.
Advantages of VoIP
The biggest advantage of VoIP is cost savings. VoIP services are much cheaper than traditional landline service, and in some cases are even free. Another major strength of VoIP is its portability – since it uses the worldwide network of the Internet, users are not tied to any one physical location for a variety of services. As long as you have a computer, a broadband connection and, in some cases, a telephone adapter, you can make calls using your VoIP account.
Types of VoIP Services
There are two main types of VoIP use in the home or office – Netphones and SIP-based. Netphones, also known as softphones, are software applications that turn your computer into a phone. The software is traditionally free, downloadable from the Internet, and requires nothing other than an active Internet connection and sound capabilities.
SIP-based VoIP connects your existing telephone to the Internet through a piece of hardware, or software client, usually a telephone adapter or IP phone. It typically requires a paid subscription to a service provider.