VoIP providers are the phone companies that offer today’s latest in phone communications systems using the mix of today’s current technologies. They drastically cut down phone costs while having the same ease of use. They actually have some plus points compared to the older wired phone systems we’re all used to.
Developed in the late 70s and first appearing in the 90s, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is using a phone system that is based on the Internet in making calls (local, medium distances, international). In the process, it bypasses the older system of wired connections of traditional phone networks.
The single biggest reason for today’s companies to switch on to VoIP phone system is the tremendous cut down on costs.
How it works
The system works very simply. Every time you make a phone call, your voice is converted into a stream of data. After which, this data stream is made to travel over your broadband Internet connection.
Your data packet is labeled with its destination address (the person you’re calling) and moves through the Internet just like the same way web pages and file downloads do. On reaching their destination, the packets are re-assembled and converted back into sound waves. (This process happens simultaneously in two directions and the whole process is deemed one phone call.)
If the person you are calling is also using a VoIP service, your call remains on the Internet for the entire journey. If you are dialing a conventional phone, the call is carried as far as possible over the Internet and handed to the relevant phone network.
Most of the VoIP services has an allocated landline phone number to allow other people to call you. The call here is routed to the nearest handover point (POP or point of presence) and then travels over the Internet to your VoIP phone or computer.
The biggest benefit is summed up in one word: cost. VoIP providers avoid carrier phone networks and in doing so, keep their call charges very low. In fact, if you are calling someone who uses the same VoIP service, the call may come out free.
Local and national calls are usually offered for a single per-call charge, rather than being time-based. This is possible by carrying the call over the Internet to the local area of the person you are calling before handing it back to the phone network. It is like treating a local call by the phone carrier.
International calls are typically charged in increments of cents per minute. There are some local providers of VoIP who offer “all-you-can-eat” type of international calling service plans to selected countries.
On top of the cheap calls, most providers of VoIP services also include many other features. There is a free voice mail box, caller ID, caller blocking, and call diversions to other named phone numbers.
There are also three-way calling (mini call conferencing), do not disturb function, and call diversion if there is no answer.
Today’s VoIP providers have as their main selling point the fact that their phone services are comparable to the old phone systems, except for the lower costs.