VoIP service, or voice over Internet protocol service, allows you to connect to others over the Internet for voice communication. Your computer encodes your voice and sends it over your Internet connection to the recipient. At the other end, the signal is converted back to voice. VoIP telephone service is interconnected to the standard phone network by a VoIP telephone service provider. This interconnection allows you to use a telephone connected to the Internet through an adapter to call normal telephone numbers. The cost of this service is often lower than conventional telephone service.
Conventional telephone service sends your voice as an analog signal over a wire. The power supply for the signal is provided by the telephone company through the wire. For long-distance calls, the signal may be routed through high-capacity cables or satellite connections, but there will always be a continuous connection between you and the call recipient.
VoIP telephone service encodes your voice as data and sends it over the Internet. Different parts of the data arrive at the call recipient's computer via different routes. The software on the recipient's computer reassembles the data and converts it back into voice.
Quality of Service
Since conventional telephone service means that there is always a continuous connection between you and the call recipient, call quality is stable and voice reproduction good. There are few sources of interference and call completion is reliable.
VoIP telephone service relies on the speed of your Internet connection, the speed of the Internet itself and the speed of the recipient's Internet connection to complete good quality calls. If there are delays in any of these three locations, the data will not be fully reassembled and call quality will suffer. Delays can be caused by technical problems or overloading and will result in garbled sound with static.
Conventional telephone service relies on a wire that has a physical location known to the telephone company. The emergency services receiving a 911 call are therefore be able to determine the origin of the call and the address of the caller.
VoIP telephone service can be accessed from any Internet connection and therefore has no fixed address. The FCC is requiring interconnected telephone suppliers to keep track of addresses to which they supply their VoIP service and make them available to emergency services. You can make sure that 911 calls from your VoIP phone work properly by keeping your service provider updated on any address changes.
Flexibility and Cost
Conventional telephone service is provided at a fixed address and can't be moved. Additional services usually cost extra and long-distance calls are costly because additional facilities are used.
VoIP telephone service can be accessed through any Internet connection and it has no fixed location. This means the service can assign any area code to any customer, regardless of location. Customers can request area codes so that families and friends can dial their number from conventional phones without incurring long-distance charges. Long-distance calls dialed from VoIP phones are inexpensive because there are no additional charges for distance over the Internet. Additional services are free or inexpensive because they are software-based.
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