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VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) via Computers

6 Aug

(Originally posted on December 18, 2009)


VoIP is a commonly used term in today’s communication technology. It stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. As the name suggests, voice is transmitted via the Internet. This would mean that people with Internet connection may be able to communicate or more specifically call or talk to each other using devices such as computers, cell phones, IP phones etc..

On this article, we will only be focusing on the use of VoIP in communication using computers.

How does it work?

VoIP pretty much functions the same as modern telephones or home phones today. Just like traditional home phones, VoIP enables distant individuals to communicate. This is done by converting the analog audio signals that we hear in our landlines into digital audio signals so it can travel through the Internet to the receiver.

Imagine a dozen of eggs with each one having the letters or syllables of a message. To transmit the message to the receiver, each egg is thrown into air down to the tray where the letters or the syllables of the message will be grouped together and assembled to make sense for the receiver. This is just like how VoIP works. The sender uses voice which will then be converted digitally, piece by piece and thrown into the Internet until it reaches the receiver and vice versa.

In short, VoIP makes people communicate without the copper wires that our traditional home phones use.

Advantages of VoIP
Using VoIP will give you a lot of savings especially if you use to call friends or relatives abroad. National and more importantly International calls are cheaper with the use of VoIP. Some may even be free of charge.

You may not be aware of it but free and unlimited instant messaging/ calling applications such as Skype, Yahoo Messenger and MSN Messenger are some of the myriad of applications in the Internet that use VoIP. All you have to do is get online and download these applications. If you don’t have any of those applications yet, be sure that your computer has a sound card (if you can play music or videos then you already have one), a microphone and speaker (or a headset) and of course, an Internet Connection.
If you have a portable computer like a laptop or a notebook, you can use VoIP in computer to computer or computer to telephone/cell phone anytime, anywhere provided that you don’t lose your connection to the Internet. With a variety of major telecommunications companies that sell plug-and-use flash drives and the increasing number of wifi hotspots, you can have access to the Internet all day long.

And why limit yourself to talking when you’re in front of the computer? If it’s a pc-to-pc call, then you can also opt to send files or photos while talking and even use web cameras to see each other.

VoIP phones can also have the extra features of your traditional home phone free or at a discounted rate depending on the application your using, the provider and you package or plan. Call Waiting, three-way calling, speed dialing, caller ID, voicemail, call forwarding and more can also be used in VoIP phones.

Disadvantages of VoIP

Now VoIP is not yet perfect so there will also be some disadvantages in using this technology.

For one, VoIP is dependent on the Internet provider. If there is very slow connection, expect to have a bad connection. The communication will not flow smoothly which will result to choppy, intermittent, or delay both in sending and receiving the message.

Another is that VoIP is dependent on electric power. If there’s power outage, then you won’t be able to use VoIP unlike the traditional home phones.

VoIP may still pose a few obstacles but we cannot deny that the advantages are far greater than the disadvantages. And with today’s fast development in technology, soon the disadvantages will have remedies if not removed and who knows, VoIP may even replace the traditional home phones!

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