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What is VoIP ?, a tutorial.

What is VoIP?

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a great technology that allows you to make and receive telephone calls over the Internet and has been in the mainstream now for going on 9 years.  It can also be referred to as an Internet Phone.  VoIP(Voice over IP) enables you to make cheap telephone calls over a broadband Internet connection, (usually a DSL, broadband cable connection, or T1), instead of using your regular telephone service.  You can connect to regular telephone numbers locally or in other parts of the US or Canada, or anywhere else in the world, usually all for one low price for US and Canada, eliminating long distance fees by using a VoIP service from an "Interconnected VoIP Provider", (which most VoIP providers are).  In addition, you will usually have low international phone call rates to other countries.  The savings can be substantial, with lower fees and taxes levied by traditional telephone carriers.  Plus, most VoIP providers offer services with "unlimited" calling plans and an array of features all for one monthly fee.

A requirement for a VoIP connection is a high speed internet connection, such as cable, DSL, T1, or even wireless, as long as the wireless provider's bandwidth meets the minimum requirements for the VoIP provider you choose and their connection is stable enough to offer a connection without packet loss and jitter.

How does VoIP work? Voice over IP explained.

First, voice is converted by an ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter) or IP phone, from an analog signal to a digital signal.  It is then sent over the Internet in data packets to a location that will be close to the destination.  Then it will be converted back to an analog signal for the remaining distance over a traditional circuit switch (PSTN) (unless it is VoIP to VoIP).  Your call can be received by traditional telephones worldwide, as well as other VoIP users.  VoIP to VoIP calls can travel entirely over the Internet.  Since your voice is changed to digital (so that it can travel over the Internet), other great features such as voice messages to email, call forwarding, logs of incoming and outgoing calls, caller ID, etc., can be included in your basic calling plan all for one low price. Many of these special features are great for the small business person who relies on their phone service to be more a information center rather than just a telephone.  

VoIP diagram

What are the benefits of VoIP?

First and foremost more for less money, so if you're looking for VoIP Service Provider with Cheap Call Rates, including features that will make your communications state of the art you can find it.  Many VoIP providers have plans that allow unlimited calls in the continental US and Canada all for one low monthly fee.  In addition, added features such as Voice Mail, Call Waiting, Call Forwarding, a web based control panel, Voicemail received as Email, Advanced Call Forwarding features, etc., are added at no additional cost.  Plus, International rates are a lot less than traditional telephone companies.  You are not limited to just a certain local's numbers, but can even choose one from another state.  In addition, you can add virtual numbers from other areas that will ring in on your primary number.  So, the benefits of VoIP are:

  • Lower monthly telephone bills; cheap Long Distance and cheap calls.
  • Unlimited monthly calling to certain locations eliminating long distance charges and plans with unlimited International calling.
  • Additional features; all included in your one monthly flat rate.
  • Lower prices on International calling.
  • Virtual numbers; numbers that ring in on a primary number and can be from other areas, even other states.
  • Portability (LNP), or the ability to take your phone service with you.


VoIP, it can save money for the home business person.Certain people are going to benefit more greatly from VoIP than others.  Entrepreneurs and small businesses are such great candidates for VoIP that it would be hard to present an argument against getting a VoIP service.  It's not just the unlimited long distance calls (US and Canadian) that are the primary motivation, it is also all the advanced features that are part of many provider's service.  Getting a state of the art communications system, one that up until now would cost several hundreds of dollars a month with a large initial outlay, for under fifty dollars a month is incredible (and with very little upfront cost).  Adding a VoIP line or two can greatly add to a small business's communications features, save money and increase revenue.  Consider adding a line, as a partial solution, keeping a regular copper line, especially if you fax heavily or use DSL (see our tutorials for more information about these two suggestions).  Look into the features that will benefit your business plan, they may be more than you expected.

What's required for VoIP?

You will need a broadband Internet connection, such as DSL or cable, T1 or wireless.  In most cases you will need an "always on" type of connection with a bandwidth of at least 128kbps on both upload and download for a single VoIP voice connection (an uncompressed voice connection will use approximately 90kpbs on both the upload and download.  There are connections using a compressed voice "codec" that will use less.)


Continue with more about VoIP


Read about the Top 5 Problems with VoIP.