VOIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol is a method for digitalising analog audio signals for transmission over the internet. This method of sending and receiving audio signal is useful because the cost of communicating via VOIP is already accounted for by broadband costs meaning that long distance (and short distance) phone calls can potentially be placed for free. VOIP therefore has the potential to completely replace ordinary landline phones.
Indeed, over the last few years businesses have increasingly been switching to VOIP based systems for placing internal and external calls. However the savings of VOIP are not only worthwhile to large businesses but can also be beneficial for home use too. The increased use of VOIP by businesses has paved the way for at home use, with the last few years seeing a dramatic increase in VOIP call quality and a decrease in the costs of required equipment.
The most common and easiest method of VOIP is by using an ‘ATA’ or Analog Telephone Adaptor. An ATA is a telephone device that is able to connect to the internet and convert analog signal to digital signal for transmission over the internet. To make VOIP calls this way, all you need to do is purchase an ATA, set it up with your internet connection and then plug your telephone into it.
A more complicated way of placing VOIP calls is using an IP or Internet Protocol phone. These look and feel just like normal telephone handsets except they have an ethernet connector which attaches directly to your router for VOIP calls. Some VOIP IP phones that function off of Wi-Fi are also available.
The methods of using VOIP that most people will be familiar with is computer to computer VOIP via services such as Skype, Facebook or Google Hangouts. Unlike the other methods, computer to compete VOIP does not require any additional equipment and rarely requires the user to set up programs or software on their computer before they can use VOIP.