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

Help with VOIP...How Does it Work?

Well, another question might be, "Do I really need to know how it works to use it?".

Good news, you don't need to know, but we think it's interesting stuff anyway.

Here goes.

VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol is a technology that is used to route voice signals over the Internet or any other IP-based network. In a traditional phone system, the voice signals are transmitted over dedicated, circuit-switched transmission lines. In a VoIP system, however, the voice data is transmitted over a general-purpose packet-switched network.

VoIP is also called Internet telephony, IP telephony or digital phone. Phone calls can be made from computer to computer with the use of VoIP software. An IP phone can be used or the signals from a traditional phone can be converted into digital form with an ATA (analog terminal adaptor). A computer with a broadband connection is all that you need to make VoIP work.

With VoIP you can make calls from any computer, which is connected to the Internet from anywhere. Similarly, if you are traveling, you can use your IP phone or adaptor to make calls from wherever you are. You can even make international or local calls using a VoIP phone. But hey, that's not all. A VoIP system offers many features like repeat dial, return call, call waiting and call transfer that traditional phone companies charge for.

The biggest advantage of VoIP is that it does not need any new infrastructure. It works over the existing Internet technology. In fact, it uses the same technology that is used to send an e-mail or download a web page. The voice is converted into packets, which are then stamped with the IP address of the destination server. They are then routed on the existing Internet platform to the destination server, where they are reassembled and routed to an adaptor connected to an Internet phone.

A VoIP phone service is available at a fraction of the cost of traditional phone services. It enables users to reduce their phone bills and is especially beneficial to users who make many long-distance or international calls. VoIP also reduces the long-term costs of ownership. There is no need to invest in separate equipment for data and voice communication.

Now for the downside. Overall, VoIP lacks the reliability of the phone company. Data networks are not as reliable as voice networks and there may be users who may not be willing to sacrifice reliability for the lower cost of using a VoIP system. A VoIP phone may give you very good voice quality with negligible lag, but it may still be inferior to a traditional phone.

For more information on how VOIP works, see visit our VOIP tutorial.

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