What is VoIP?

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), as its name suggest, is a system that allows voice communications and multimedia sessions over the Internet. VoIP is also called as Cloud Telephony and IP Telephony.

VoIP emerged as an strong competitor against traditional telephony system. Reduced call rates and its feature rich functionality has attracted customers from traditional telephony systems to VoIP based systems.

How VoIP Works???

VoIP converts audio signals into data packets, and transmits these packets through the Internet. These transmitted packets are then received by the other end of the connection, and converted back into the audio signals. In this process receiver and transmitter both are connected through the internet, and hence it eliminates the traditional wired circuit for calling.

How to use VoIP?

Firstly, to use VoIP, you must subscribe to any VoIP service provider. There are many service providers which are either cheap or free. Secondly you will need an VoIP phone to make and receive calls. There are two types of VoIP Phones:

1. Hardware-based VoIP Telephones: These phones looks similar to landline phones but are actually IP based phones connected directly or indirectly to the Internet.

2. Software-based VoIP Telephones: Software-based phones are often called as soft-phones. These are actually a software installed on your PC or your mobile or on any other devices which acts as a phone. This software utilizes the microphone and speaker of your device to make and receive a call. Some examples of soft-phones are Skype, Zoiper, X-lite etc.

Who can use VoIP?

Anybody can use VoIP for cheap and feature rich calling. Now a days many applications are freely available on internet to install either on your PC or on your Mobile to make VoIP calls. Skype, WhatsApp, Google Duo are some of them.

But besides personal use, VoIP emerges as a great option for companies or organizations where calling is an essential part of their business. Companies can utilize VoIP to make their own Private Branch Exchange (PBX) to communicate with clients.

Pros

1. Reduced call rates: VoIP eliminates the use of circuit/wire based traditional telephone lines, which leads to low cost of calling both Locally of Internationally.

2. Limited hardware and low maintenance: VoIP system requires limited hardware and hence low maintenance.

3. Feature rich functionality: VoIP systems comes with feature rich functionality options including call forwarding, call barring, call recording and many more which are limited in traditional telephony systems.

Cons

1. Voice Quality: VoIP calling needs a good speed and consistent internet connection for smooth and quality calls. Failing to which leads to disturbance and poor quality of calls.

2. Emergency Calls: Emergency calling can be a problem for some VoIP users. Many emergency services like 911, was built with the traditional telephone system in mind, and because a phone line is fixed to a certain location and can be tracked to provide easy and immediate help. While calling 911 from a VoIP line will only transmit whatever address you provided at setup.

3. No Internet No Calls: While in traditional phones we can call without internet, and sometimes even without electricity. But in VoIP as the name suggest, no internet means no calls.