|What Is VoIP and How Does It Work - Page 1 of 2
The way we make phone calls is changing. In fact in many circumstances things have already changed. Take long distance calls for instance, many service providers are already using a technology called Voice Over IP or VoIP for short. If you have never heard of VoIP before, then the following article will change the way you think about how long distance phone calls are being made now, and about how all phone calls will be made in the future. Voice Over IP (VoIP) is a method for turning analog audio signals into digital data that can be transferred over the internet.
You may be asking yourself how this is useful. Well, think about it for a few seconds. If it is possible to turn analog signals into digital data, then VoIP can turn a standard internet connection into a method for placing phone calls anywhere in the world virtually free, except for your internet service fee, enabling you to bypass the phone companies entirely.
Voice Over IP (VoIP) has the potential to completely revolutionize the way the world's phone systems operate. There are many VoIP service providers that have been around for a while, and are growing steadily. Now the world's leading telecommunications operators are waking up to the endless possibilities of this new technology, setting up VoIP calling centers around the world, and promoting the sales of Voice Over IP phone systems.
Making a call:
With VoIP phone systems it is possible to make a call in one of three ways:
ATA (gateway) – The simplest way to make a VoIP phone call is through the use of ATAs (analog telephone adaptor) sometimes called gateways. These devices enable you to make use of your existing standard analog phones. You simply plug your standard handset into the ATA (gateway) then connect the ATA to your computer or your internet connection, enabling you to make VoIP calls. An ATA takes the analog signal from your standard phone and turns it into a digital signal ready for transmission over the internet. Some ATAs (gateways) come with additional software that is loaded onto a host computer, enabling you to configure it for VoIP accurately.
IP Phones – These handsets look just like normal standard handsets. They have an RJ 45 Ethernet connector instead of the standard RJ 11 connectors. These phones have all the necessary software and hardware to handle VoIP calls already built in. They connect directly to your router, providing a very fast and cost effective entry into the world of Voice Over IP.
Computer to computer – This is the easiest way to make use of the VoIP technology. There are many companies offering cost effective software that you can use for this type of VoIP. Usually the only charge you pay is the monthly one from your internet service provider, even for long distance calls. All you need is a microphone, speakers, a suitable sound card and a fast internet connection.
Chances are that you have already made a VoIP call without even realizing it. The major phone companies already use VoIP to route thousands of long distance calls through a circuit switch and into an IP gateway. This is then received by a gateway at the other end and then routed to another local circuit switch. More and more companies are installing VoIP phone systems, and the technology will grow and grow until it finds its way into every business and household across the globe.
Because with VoIP you can make calls from anywhere you have access to a broadband connection, users can take their IP phones or ATAs with them on trips and still have access to what is essentially their home phone.
Some people use a softphone to access their VoIP service. A softphone is a specially developed software application that loads the VoIP service onto your desktop computer or laptop. Some even have an interface on the screen that looks like a traditional phone. These softphone applications allow you to place VoIP calls from your laptop; anywhere in the world you have access to a broadband connection.
Most traditional phone companies charge you for extra features that are added to your account. With VoIP service providers these usually come as standard. Features such as:
1. Caller ID
2. Call Waiting
3. Call Transfer
4. Repeat Dialing
5. Return Call
6. Three-Way Dialing
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