What is .......... VoIP?

What is it?

Stands for 'Voice Over Internet Protocol'.

It is a technology that allows you to make telephone calls over a Broadband internet connection.

Why was it developed?

In a sentence - to save money.

The Internet is designed to send data from one computer to another. It does not care in the slightest what that data actually is - so it could just as easily represent your voice.

How does it work?

The technology is fairly straight-forward:

a)you speak into a microphone that is connected to a sound card.
b)The sound card has an 'Analogue-to-Digital converter' that translates your speech into a digital stream.
c)That data is given a destination address and off it goes like any other data stream.
d) The receiving computer has the right VOIP software to convert the incoming data back into speech


1.The advantage of VOIP using the internet is that at its most basic the system is essentially free as long as you have an Internet connection.
2. The next step-up is to use a VOIP service company such as Skype. They may offer a free service if you call other subscribers and then charge for other calls.


a) Both ends have to have the right software and hardware to speak to one another
b) There is no guarantee of quality when using the Internet - no one company owns the internet, so if a part of it is broken there is no-one to call to fix it.
c) It uses packet-switching so if packets get dropped along the way then voice quality drops.
d) Even when fully working, it is not as high a quality of voice as a normal telephone line.
e) It does not work if you have a power-cut, unlike your normal telephone.
f) It may not work for emergency service numbers. Sometimes you just can't tell the emergency services where you are, so they use some standard telephone location technology to help locate you. With VOIP this is more difficult.

What is the future.

You can now buy VOIP handsets and adaptors that look like a normal phone instead of the microphone \ sound card method. You can just plug in the phone to an internet connection.

There are two things happening:
1) Companies are springing up that offer to connect your VOIP call to any normal telephone number. Of course the service is then no longer free.

2)The large telecom companies are spending billions, creating their own private IP networks. If you use their VOIP service then the data gets routed through their private system so guaranteeing quality of service. The reason they are doing this is not only to compete with the public Internet companies but using IP and Packet-Switching is more efficient as all calls create packets that share the same network.




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