Many of you may have never heard of the VoIP, the phrase VoIP is nothing but an abbreviation of “Voice over IP”, where “IP” is another important communication terminology depicting the main “language” internet uses to communicate.
As you may have read in one of our earlier editions, Internet is a collection of so many computers widely interconnected together.
These computers make up networks; many networks interconnected make a “web”. It is this interconnection of the computers that is known as the internet. This is a simple definition, in real life; it is much more complicated than that.
These computers must have both local area connections that culminate into wide area connections and so on and so forth.
In our topic for today, we shall only look at one aspect of the internet that is to do with communicating via the voice.
If you’ve never heard of VoIP, sit back and relax, it is just the way you long-distance phone calls work that has led to the development of this scenario.
VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a method for taking normal (analog audio signals) sound, like the kind you hear when you talk on the phone, and turning them into digital data that can be transmitted over the network or internet.
Let us ask ourselves, how useful is this to us? VoIP can turn a standard Internet connection into a medium for making near to free phone calls.
In practice, by using some of the free VoIP software that is available to make Internet phone calls, you are bypassing the phone company (and its charges) entirely. Is this legal? Yes!
Though many phone companies in the less developed world have been strongly fighting VoIP, they themselves use it to interconnect or even make international call connections.
VoIP is a revolutionary technology that has the potential to finally dictate how the world’s phone systems are to eventually work. VoIP providers like Vonage have already been around for a while and are growing steadily.
Major carriers like AT&T are already setting up VoIP calling plans in several markets around the United States, and the FCC is looking seriously at the potential ramifications of VoIP servicee.
VoIP is essentially a smart “reinvention of the wheel.” The exciting thing about VoIP is that there is not just one way to place a call.
There are three different “flavors” of VoIP service in common use today and these are as follows:-
The first category is the (Analog Telephone Adaptor), this is the simplest and most common way.
It is through the use of a device called an analog telephone adaptor. The ATA allows you to connect a standard phone to your computer or your Internet connection for use with VoIP.
The ATA is an analog-to-digital converter. It takes the analog signal from your traditional phone and converts it into digital data for transmission over the Internet.
Providers like Vonage and AT&T are bundling ATAs free with their service. You simply crack the ATA out of the box, plug the cable from your phone that would normally go in the wall socket into the ATA, and you’re ready to make VoIP calls. Some ATAs may come with additional software that is loaded onto the host computer to configure it; but in any case, it’s a very straightforward setup.
Secondly, we have the IP Phones -These are specific phones, they appear just like normal phones with a handset, cradle and buttons. But instead of having the standard RJ-11 phone connectors, they use an RJ-45 (Computer Ethernet connector).
IP phones connect directly to your internet gateway and have all the hardware and software necessary right onboard to handle the IP call.
Thirdly, Computer-to-computer, This is undoubtedly the easiest way to use VoIP. You don’t even have to pay for long-distance calls. There are several companies offering free or very low-cost software that you can use for this type of VoIP.
All you need is the software, a microphone, speakers, a sound card and an Internet connection; if possible a fast one like you would get through a fibre Optic or EVEDO modem.
Except for your normal monthly ISP fee, there is usually no charge for computer-to-computer calls, no matter the distance. A good example of this is the Yahoo Messenger, SKYPE etc.