Thursday, June 12, 2008

VoIP for dummies

Using voice over IP, from any computer or telephone (IP phone or regular phones with ATA) connected to the internet with a broadband connection (though dial ups can still make calls) can call another computer or phone at a fraction of usual cost, or absolutely free. In other words VoIP can turn a standard Internet connection into a way to place free phone calls or almost free.

The main idea is to use a software like softphones or hardware like IP phones and to make a phone call bypassing the phone company together with its charges.

VoIP is slowly replacing traditional voice communications and access to it can take place today from most any kind of telephony device whether physical or digital. Traditional telephones can easily access low-cost VoIP services like what Onesuite voip has to offer while maintaining their telephony hardware intact.

Even mobile phones can now access VoIP telephony services from multiple providers making it possible for users to save significantly on long-distance and international calls and taking greater advantage of new complimentary services like conferencing, scheduling, recording and more.

Voip works by taking the voice and sampling it. Most of us have recorded our voice to a digital device be it a computer, a mobile phone or a digital dictaphone. You can even get applications for iPODs to record your voice. The voice samples are converted into data and then stored on the device to be played back at a later date. V0IP works in the same way, taking the voice, sampling it and converting it into binary data. The different is that data isn't stored locally but the samples are transferred them via the network to the recipient at the other end.

In order for the data to flow smoothly from one point to the other the samples are compressed with a CODEC and sliced into packets or smaller samples. These packets are then pulsed across the network and reassembled at the other end, decompressed and played backed. The whole process is so quick that the users do not notice the process taking place. If the process does become slowed down then jitter can take place. The voice or video then becomes choppy or glitch ridden. In order to over come the problem a fast Ethernet network dedicated to voip improves the flow of data.

There are two major types of equipment used for voip transmissions. The first is the soft phone, this is a system that utilizes a computer with the addition of a microphone and either headphones or speakers. The computer has software installed that acts as the gateway to the network providing the sampling, CODECS and the steaming of the data.

The vast majority of Skype users use soft phone route when accessing the service. Although you can use handsets these are still pseudo soft phones as Skype cannot be used with voip analogue telephone adapters (ATAs) and therefore they are restricted to the Skype network which kinda disadvantage to most users.

The other devices for using a voip network are unsurprisingly called hard phones. These are stand alone devices that look like a regular phone but instead of a phone jack they have an internet cable that can be plugged directly into the network.

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