VoIP – Voice Over Internet Protocol


Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has been in place for the past couple of decades. It has evolved from its original inception, having become something more commonplace and easier for everyone to access.

Though we often take VoIP for granted, it is still important to understand what VoIP is, what its purpose is, and how it is actually used.

What is VoIP?

To begin with, let’s take a look at what VoIP is. To put it simply, it is a way to take analog audio signals, such as we get from regular telephones, and changing them into digital data. Because the voice is no longer an analog transmission along a telephone line, it can be transmitted over an internet connection instead.

This changes the entire way that telecommunications worked when it came into being, allowing for fast connections, along great distances, without interruption or interference.

Skype is without a doubt one of the most recognized systems that used VoIP, allowing users to video chat or phone chat from anywhere in the world through its system. This form of free phone calling destroyed the difficulties often faced by long distance calls pretty quickly, so long as there is an internet connection on both ends of the conversation.

Who Uses it?

Thinking of video chats or voice chats, you might be wondering who actually uses a VoIP. The truth is, many if not most people with an internet connection. With the ease of communicating to loved ones, friends, or even business associates simply with responses in as close to real time as possible, VoIP is an excellent way to keep in touch. For businesses, being able to communicate with associates all over the world makes it far easier to conduct business with anyone that has a broadband connection.

On a more personal sense, grandparents can video chat with grandchildren who are out of town. Friends can keep in touch with distant friends in a more personal matter. Having the face-to-face communication available to anyone takes out the lack of personal nature that is associated with text messaging. Since it is free as well, there are no limits beyond having internet access.

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Single Unified Communications System

Beyond its use for phone calls, VoIP actually brought out a single, unified communications system. Not only is VoIP good for phone calls, but it also covers chat, text, and video calling. You can talk to anyone with an internet connection using a mic and a webcam in real time, as if you are in the same room together. It made it easier than ever to communicate with anyone, no matter how close or how far they are.

The platforms that allowed for this might have initially started with Skype, but it has gone much farther than that since then. Now, popular platforms like Facebook or even Apple utilize VoIP easily, making that standard of communication the norm rather than something that only worked for the industrious, business people, or world travelers.

How It Works

Looking at the technical side of VoIP, it works by using codecs to encapsulate the audio signal. It then sends it across your network’s IP protocol, putting it out into the web to be caught by the recipient’s IP protocol and then delivered to their network.

The speed of the connection and how much it is in real time depends greatly on the speed of each of the transmitters. If one side has a high speed connection and the other does not, you might be able to send it quickly, but the IP protocol on the otherwise will not be able to move it as quickly.

In some instances the voice or video might come across distorted to the recipient due to the way that it is compressed. Quality can be affected when one bandwidth is less than adequate than another. Even with the Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP) in effect, it the distortion can make the audio tracks sound less clear than if a person was physically present.

VoIP has easily become the modern norm for distance communication, bringing in the humanity that was lost with text messaging. This form of communication will continue to improve and expand and is not going anywhere.