Voice over the Internet Protocol, or VoIP, is a form of packet transmission technology and a group of technology for the transmission of voice and audio communications over Internet Protocol networks. Unlike the traditional phone system, VoIP does not use dedicated lines, equipment or wires to transmit voice signals. Instead, a high-speed Internet connection is required along with special software and hardware devices that are configured to make it possible. There are many companies that provide packages of services and software for use by individual consumers and businesses.
VoIP service providers usually offer two main options: voice over the air (VoIP) and voice over the web (VoIP over the web). With VoIP, voice communication is sent through data packets that are converted into digital format before transmission. The analog signal is converted into digital format once it passes through the converting software and then compressed into digital format. This compression enables low bandwidth usage while allowing the use of large volumes of data with much greater clarity than regular phone calls.
These digital packets of data can be transmitted through the Internet using an ordinary Internet connection, or it can also be used with specialized or hand-held devices like smart phones or personal media players. The voice data, however, is usually transmitted through IP networks such as the Internet itself. There are many different types of codecs that are used in this transfer. One popular model is G.711 which is used in a standard known as G.11 (G.711 compliant) voice codec. Some common voice codecs are VNTS, MP3, JPEG, Runtime Code Generator, ATA/PCI, ACD, Fast Forward, Lossless compression/ decompression, and Frame Relay Channel (RBC).
As voice communication is very useful for various uses over the internet, different compression methods have been designed and introduced. Compression methods differ in order to bring down the data rate. One method that works very well is the Lossless Compression method. This method uses very low bandwidth but delivers the best quality audio stream, which is often clearly audible. There are two ways of using the LPC technique – one is on the network side and the other is off the network side.
One of the methods used by VoIP providers is the Quality stream method, which is a bit slower than the normal compression techniques used by most companies. This method reduces the data packets sent to and received by the receiver as well as lowering the risk of data packet corruption. As this technology reduces the bandwidth required, the voice quality is likely to be affected. Another model is the Quality key phrase Collision detection and Refreshing algorithm which use a number of smaller sized keywords in order to make the search easier for the VoIP service provider. The number of keywords or key phrases used determines how often this algorithm has to be run. Because this algorithm is relatively slow, it may not be suitable for VoIP technology systems that use large data packets.
A VoIP provider can charge a large penalty for exceeding the daily limit while in the voice over the internet connection. If the volume of traffic goes above a certain limit, the voice over the internet provider will have to refund some or all of the charges incurred. For VoIP systems that use the port forwarding function, it is essential that a user pays a monthly fee to allow the server port to be controlled by the user. If the port forwarding is not used, then the server may alter the port that has been allocated to a particular user, which may result in the discontinuation of services.
Some VoIP providers offer a hosted PBX service where users only pay for the number of calls made, irrespective of whether these calls are made or not. Another alternative provided by some companies is to use a hosted business phone system with a dedicated IP phone connection. In this case, all communication with the office is done through the IP connection and hence, there is no requirement to pay a monthly fee. Many small businesses also offer wireless voice over the internet services at a low monthly fee.
One of the advantages of Voice over the Internet plans is that, you can place voice calls from a computer to another computer, a mobile device to a mobile device and even to a landline number. The internet plan does not differentiate between different types of connections. This means that, if you have an internet connection, you can make voice calls to another person just as you would do using a PSTN number. The voice quality while making these calls is the same as that of the standard telephone line and you can easily attach any type of phone handset.