A guide to VOIP

VOIP is a new way that people are using to communicate with each other, allowing them to speak over the internet without using a phone line.

We’ve put together a quick guide explaining how it works and how you can use it.

In this

What is VOIP?

VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol and essentially provides the same kind of service you would get normally with your phone company but over the internet. A lot of people use VOIP in conjunction with traditional phone services. The reason for this is that VOIP generally comes at a lower cost than tariffs with normal phone companies.

How does it work?

VOIP converts your voice into a digital signal which travels via the internet. If you call a normal phone number, the digital signal turns back into a telephone signal before it reaches its destination. VOIP is generally only used over WIFI, so you can make calls when you are connected in your own home or when you are in a WIFI hotspots in public areas such as café’s or train stations. You can use VOIP over phone data but you will need to check before you use is it - if you don’t have unlimited data then it will eat into your allowance.

What do I need?

The first thing you will need before you can start using VOIP is a decent broadband connection, if your connection is too slow then the call will drop or be of such bad quality as to make it unusable. VOIP can be used from a variety of devices, namely, a computer or laptop, a special VOIP phone or a traditional mobile phone which has a VOIP adapter.

Who can I call?

With VOIP you can call anyone you want, one of the great advantages of VOIP is that it allows you to make long distance or international calls with all the ease low cost of a local call. The receiver of the call doesn’t have to use VOIP and they won’t be able to notice any difference between that and a normal telephone call. Another great advantage is that the quality on long distance calls is usually a lot better than their traditional counterparts as they are made digitally so any extra noise made during transmission of voice signals is filtered out.

What are the downsides?

The quality of your call will be affected by the speed of your broadband line, so if you live in an area that doesn’t have access to high speed internet then you may want to employ a traditional phone line as well. Secondly it is more temperamental, since problems with internet connectivity are relatively common – something that is not typically a problem with phone lines. Thirdly, VOIP calling doesn’t come with all the services you would expect like voice mail, directory listings and the ability to call emergency numbers

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