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VoIP Defined

Friday, May 26th, 2006 by | Filed Under: Computer Terms
 
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VoIP Defined

We’ve introduced it to you before, but what really is VoIP? It’s becoming more and more popular each day, so it wouldn’t hurt to know a basic overview of it. You might even already use it or you might become interested in getting it after you read this! Who knows?!

VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol and it is also known as Internet Telephony. If you have high-speed Internet (cable/DSL, LAN) on your computer, you can connect your phone to your computer and make calls that way. So, you are basically making telephone calls over your computer. You must have a special adapter for this to work, but when you do, you plug your phone line into the adapter instead of plugging it into the wall jack. The adapter is then plugged into your Internet modem, which allows VoIP to convert the voice signal from the phone line into a data that is able to travel over the Internet.

The cool thing is, you still use your phone the exact same way. You will hear a dial tone and you dial out just like normal. Just with VoIP, everything is combined into one function. Incoming calls will also ring just like normal.


Image provided by http://www.fcc.gov/voip/

The main reason you might decide to invest in this new technology system is to save you money in the long run. VoIP services cost approximately $20 to $30 a month, plus you’re not paying for a phone line and Internet connection separately anymore. The VoIP plans usually also include local and long distance calling, while some even provide international calling.

You may be wondering just how well could the sound quality really be. Well, in most trials, it has been excellent. This part does depend on how reliable your Internet connection is. If you don’t have many problems with disconnection or anything like that, this could be a good way for you to go. If you do have frequent stops or shut downs with your connection, VoIP may not be right for your home.

The quality also depends on what you’re doing on your computer at the time a call comes through or when you’re making a call. If you’re downloading a huge file off the Internet or doing several things at once in different programs, you’re going to get a “choppy” sound result.

Another thing to think about is that when you have a power outage, your phone won’t work. If you’re computer doesn’t work, your phone won’t either. If you have a cell phone to use as a backup phone, you shouldn’t have any problem, but the power thing is definitely something to keep in mind. Also, VoIP services don’t normally work for 911 emergency calls. Learn more about that here.

If you’re interested in learning more about VoIP or getting the service hooked up, you can just call your ISP and they can help you out with that. You may also be able to bundle your phone service with your current Internet service so you will save some money.

As you can see, VoIP has some pros and cons, but it’s definitely something to consider as today’s technologies keep growing and growing.

~ Erin

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