VOIP How To

Last Updated 3/27/2017

Voice over Internet Protocol, also called VoIP, IP Telephony, Internet telephony, Broadband telephony, Broadband Phone and Voice over Broadband is the routing of voice conversations over the Internet or through any other IP-based network.

Companies providing VoIP service are commonly referred to as providers, and protocols which are used to carry voice signals over the IP network are commonly referred to as Voice over IP or VoIP protocols. They may be viewed as commercial realizations of the experimental Network Voice Protocol (1973) invented for the ARPANET providers. Some cost savings are due to utilizing a single network - to carry voice and data, especially where users have existing underutilized network capacity that can carry VoIP at no additional cost. VoIP to VoIP phone calls are sometimes free, while VoIP to PSTN may have a cost that's borne by the VoIP user.

There are two types of PSTN to VoIP services: DID (Direct Inward Dialing) and access numbers. DID will connect the caller directly to the VoIP user while access numbers require the caller to input the extension number of the VoIP user. Access numbers are usually charged as a local call to the caller and free to the VoIP user while DID usually has a monthly fee. There are also DIDs that are free to the VoIP user but chargeable to the caller.

VOIP Functionality

VoIP can facilitate tasks that may be more difficult to achieve using traditional networks:

  • Incoming phone calls can be automatically routed to your VoIP phone, regardless of where you are connected to the network. Take your VoIP phone with you on a trip, and wherever you connect to the Internet, you can receive incoming calls.
  • Free phone numbers for use with VoIP are available in the USA, UK and other countries from organizations such as VoIP User.
  • Call center agents using VoIP phones can work from anywhere with a sufficiently fast and stable Internet connection.
  • Many VoIP packages include PSTN features that most telcos (telecommunication companies) normally charge extra for, or may be unavailable from your local telco, such as 3-way calling, call forwarding, automatic redial, and caller ID.

VOIP Mobility

VoIP allows users to travel anywhere in the world and still make and receive phone calls:

  • Subscribers of phone-line replacement services can make and receive local phone calls regardless of their location. For example, if a user has a New York City phone number and is traveling in Europe and someone calls the phone number, it will ring in Europe. Conversely, if a call is made from Europe to New York City, it will be treated as a local call. Of course, there must be a connection to the Internet e.g. WiFi to make all of this possible.
  • Users of Instant Messenger based VoIP services can also travel anywhere in the world and make and receive phone calls.
  • Specialized mobile VoIP services enable users to talk over internet protocol and use VoIP based Instant Messanger services like Skype, MSN and GoogleTalk from their mobile phones.
  • VoIP phones can integrate with other services available over the Internet, including video conversation, message or data file exchange in parallel with the conversation, audio conferencing, managing address books and passing information about whether others (e.g. friends or colleagues) are available online to interested parties.