The Quick Start Guide to VOIP for the Home, Home Office, and Small Business

High Speed VoIP Means Routing Voice on High Speed Broadband Lines

You may mistake the term high speed VoIP to mean the movement of voice data at some kind of breakneck pace. You picture the best VOIP phone services as being the fastest...and you want fast. Forget the slow speed stuff.

Actually, this is not quite correct.

In layman's language, high speed VoIP simply means the transmission of data over high bandwidth lines, in which the transmission of voice data is impeded by line congestion.

Line congestion used to happen often when VoIP technology was first introduced. At that time, most PCs used dial-up connections to log onto the Net. The voice data, after being converted into digital packets by the VoIP software, was transmitted over low-speed phone lines. These phone lines lacked sufficient bandwidth to transmit the data. The data would therefore slow down, and take a longer time to reach the Internet gateway. The same thing happened at the receiving end, especially if the PC was connected on a low bandwidth telephone line.

Line congestion also caused increased transmission time, very much like a page download that took an eternity when it was downloaded on a slow dial up connection. You had to wait for packets to stream down the Internet backbone and get reconverted into voice signals. The voice quality was poor, and there was a voice lag, which made a PC-to-PC call a very frustrating experience.

Today, however, most homes are connected to high speed DSL or cable lines. which allows the voice data to zip through the connecting pipe. The receiver, at the other end, may be using a conventional telephone, and may not even be aware as to the bandwidth of the Internet line over which the voice signals were transmitted. He receives the call in the normal way -- over conventional telephone lines. The loss of time is too miniscule to affect the quality of conversation.

The term high speed VoIP is also not applicable to calls made between two Internet phones. In this case, all data is transmitted over the Internet, very much like an e-mail. The broadband line to which the Internet phone is connected facilitates its movement. But it is only the first leg of the journey. The data, which is broken into small units and placed in packets, then moves from one server to another according to the IP address stamped on the packet. That is why VoIP is known as packet switching technology. When the packets reach the destination server they are reconverted back into voice signals with the help of an adapter connected to an Internet phone.

So, you can't really classify transmission of voice data over IP as either high speed or low speed VoIP. It is the size of the bandwidth pipes that make all the difference. The higher the bandwidth the smoother the data movement.

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