Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) is changing the way that we look at phone service. The relatively new technology is quickly becoming the norm in many homes across the world. But a variety of VOIP considerations should be explored before you take advantage of the technology. It allows a caller to make long distance calls without having to pay much, or anything for them. Combine the VOIP technology with a broadband, or high speed, internet access line, and VOIP provides an easy, inexpensive way to make phone calls all over the world. However, there are still some disadvantages of VOIP - especially when it comes to using the technology for functions beyond the one caller to one caller scenario.
VOIP considerations for you to examine start with understanding how the technology works in comparison with traditional phone service. With traditional phone service, your long distance phone calls are routed from your local provider's network to your chosen long distance provider's network, where it is routed to the receiving party's local phone provider's network and finally, to their home phone line. Since multiple providers are involved, multiple providers charged a fee for the call, which the long distance provider passed on to you in the form of an often hefty per-minute charge. But VOIP has changed all of that. It removes the long distance company from the equation, making a long distance phone call virtually the same as a local phone call.
How? By using the internet as the routing method that passes the call from your local phone provider to your receiving party's local phone provider. You initiate the call, and your analog voice signal is translated into a digital signal. That signal is then sent via your internet service to the internet, where it is routed to the receiving party's local phone provider's network, translated back into an analog signal and sent to the receiving party's phone. The disadvantages of VOIP should be part of what you understand regarding VOIP considerations, but they are relatively limited for the average consumer. The main complaints regarding VOIP have to do with providing the level of quality of service that customers are accustomed to with regular telephone technology. The reason for this is multifold. VOIP requires a large amount of data to be compressed and transmitted, then uncompressed and delivered, all in a relatively small amount of time. Problems develop in VOIP conversations when this process takes too long and the callers experience one of two problems; echo or over-talk For businesses, VOIP considerations have more to do with how to manage the traffic over their network. Since they may be using their bandwidth for internet and even voice conferencing, they will need to analyze the amount of bandwidth that is necessary to handle all of their activities. But for the average consumer, the greatest advantage of VOIP is the cost - or rather, the lack of cost.
If you have a computer with a sound card, modem, speakers, a microphone and a (preferably) high speed connection, and you download software from companies such as http://skype.com, you can be making free long distance and international phone calls using VOIP in as little as 5 minutes.
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