VoIP is Voice over Internet Protocol. Standard telephone lines are referred to as PSTN or the Public Switched Telephone Network. PSTN works on circuit switching. A good example of circuit switching is the old switchboard operator who would connect callers to receivers by the use of electrical circuits. VoIP is Packet Switching. Packet Switching consists of data packets, or packets of information being carried across the Internet, from your computer to either another computer or PSTN telephone.
VoIP operates in different forms. For instance, you can use VoIP when you use an Instant Messaging program with voice on your computer. These are very popular and now Yahoo, AOL, MSN, ICQ, and even Google have VoIP Instant Messaging programs. The benefits of these programs are that they are free to download off of the Internet, and by using a microphone and your speakers; you can talk over the Internet with any of your buddies. As long as your friends and family members download the same program, you will be able to talk with them as long as you like, and absolutely free. You can talk to anyone, anywhere in the world with VoIP Instant Messengers.
Another method of VoIP technology is to use a VoIP service provider for your basic telephony needs. A very familiar company is Vonage. For a monthly fee, you will receive VoIP services, the same as you pay for your regular telephone services. You can choose to use your VoIP service over the Internet, or you can choose to connect your VoIP to your standard telephone. By connecting a VoIP phone adapter to your modem and standard phone, you will be able to use your VoIP service and your telephone as you would with any other telephone service provider.
Many people prefer to use a VoIP service provider because the cost of local and long distance calling with VoIP is very inexpensive. Many providers offer unlimited, flat rate calling plans. There are other features that are often bundled with your service plan. Features such as Voicemail, Caller ID, Call Waiting, Call Transfer, and 3 Way Calling are often included for free in your selected VoIP plan. By choosing your VoIP service provide and installing a phone adapter, you will be on your way to making low cost VoIP calls in minutes.
You can also purchase a specialized VoIP phone. These phones come in both cordless and corded styles. The cordless VoIP phones work the same as standard cordless phones. Many of these phones also come with conferencing features and are suitable for small or home business needs.
Another form of VoIP telephones are the VoWiFi phones. These are wireless VoIP phones. This is the same technology as VoIP, only you are not limited to a plugged in connection. You can use your VoWiFi phone wherever there is a wireless High Speed Internet Connection. These phones are slightly more expensive then mobile phones and are now becoming popular options for consumers. They are a cost effective choice for those who would like to save a little money.
Another form of VoIP is a hybrid service that is more like a softphone application, making and taking calls directly from your computer (no handset) as well as providing an extensive voicemail system with additional features. PrivatePhone is one example of this service and includes additional features like 'call me back', downloading and posting voicemail messages online and many more. It's an effective choice for classified ad replies, advertising, lead collection and private phone calls.
VoIP has proved to be a viable source of telecommunications. Many companies are now offering VoIP services and those who aren’t have plans to do so. Companies such as Verizon and Sprint offer VoIP services. Other companies are working on creating VoIP phones and VoWiFi phones. There are Hybrid phones on the market, which allow for both VoWiFi and Cellular calling. These phones have many people excited. They can work in a network range as a cellular phone, and then, they can work as a VoWiFi phone, avoiding all roaming charges.
The FCC has issued some regulations regarding VoIP and the ability to call 911. Because VoIP uses the Internet and not a landline phone, when a call is made to 911 from a VoIP connection, the operator who receives the call receives none of the caller’s pertinent information. This includes address or location of the call. Some service providers do not supply 911 at all; others have what is known as Enhanced 911 services. To use these services you may need to activate your service, as well as register your information with 911. However, you will need to sign a statement when you apply for your VoIP services stating that you understand your 911 capabilities may be limited.