Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) is a protocol for the transmission of voice data via the Internet. In plain English, this gives one the ability to make voice calls over the Internet.
Other terms used are Internet Telephony, Broadband Phone, IP Telephony or Voice Over Broadband. The providers of the Internet Telephony services use different protocols for transmitting the voice signals over an IP network on the Internet. These protocols are referred to as Voice Over IP.
Internet Phone: History of Voice Over Internet Protocol
The idea of being able to make telephone calls over the Internet has been around ever since the beginning of the development of the Internet. The Network Voice Protocol was an experiment carried out by the people who founded the ARPANET (the prototype of the internet as we know it today).
These experiments resulted in the internet being used to transmit voice signals as early as 1973. However, this technology only became available to end-users like you and me, from the 1990s. The later part of the 1990s witnessed many technological developments in this field, which has resulted in the VOIP facilities being commonly available to everyone today.
IP Telephony: Advantages
- The principal benefit to VoIP is price
VoIP services have the ability to offer discounted calls, as well as many common phone features at extremely low monthly prices. The traditional phone companies with their heavy burden of equipment and personnel simply cannot compete.
- Complete Portability
You can make or receive calls from anywhere that you have an internet connection.
- Location independence.
You may receive a 087 number that is not tied to a specific area or line that you may keep wherever you go. You also have the option to request other numbers such as 010, 020, etc from your service provider. Because a VoIP system works primarily off of an Internet connection, it isn’t relevant how far away the recipient of the call is in relation to the caller. Therefore there is only one standard affordable charge per phone call.
- More than one phone number.
You are able to transmit more than one phone number on one broadband line. Add additional lines simply by increasing the size of your internet line; allowing for superior scalability on the fly.
- Incorporate extra features.
Add in features like Caller Id, Call waiting and many more. Many of these are already standard features at no extra charge and some are available immediately on request.
- Free inter-branch communication over the network
Many businesses’ have multiple locations and a large part of their monthly telephone bill relates to inter branch communication. With VOIP these calls are free. This saving alone can cut 50 – 60% of your communication costs and earn you back the cost of your initial investment within 12 months.