- Can you quickly explain what VoIP is?
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. VoIP phone service, sometimes referred to as broadband phone service or digital phone service, is a phone service which operates using your high-speed Internet connection. There are mainly two kinds of VoIP services: phone-based and computer-based. These services allow you to make phone calls using either your regular phone or a computer headset with a microphone, respectively. As opposed to a traditional landline, when you use your phone or computer to call a number the call is sent over the Internet instead of over copper wires running out of your house.
- How does one place or receive a VoIP phone call?
With a phone-based service you would use VoIP the same way you use a regular landline, by picking up the phone to answer it or dialing a number to place a call. With a computer-based service, you can call using a headset with a microphone plugged into your computer.
- Can I call any phone or just VoIP phones?
Most providers allow you to call any phone number in the world, whether that number be a local, long-distance, mobile phone, or international number. However, some computer-based providers may limit you to other subscribers to that service (Commonly known as “User to User”). For your convenience, we list only those providers who allow their customers to call the regular phone network. Additionally, you may be able to speak with more than one person at a time using a feature typically titled either “Conference Calling” or “Three-way Calling.”
- How is the voice clarity?
The quality of VoIP voice has dramatically improved over the past few years, reaching the quality level of a landline phone and sometimes even exceeding that level. However, voice clarity may differ from provider to provider and will also depend upon the speed and quality of your broadband connection. Before signing up, you may wish to consult other VoIP users by visiting either our forums or the user reviews for each specific provider.
- Do I need a computer to call?
No, you do not need a computer for phone-based VoIP services. An adapter (often provided free of charge by the VoIP provider) connects the phone to a high-speed internet connection. A computer can be helpful to utilize and manage different features offered by the provider; however, it is not needed.
- What differences are there between making a local call and a long-distance call?
In terms of technology or how you dial the number, there are no differences. Call charges, however, vary from plan to plan. Rates for long-distance calls are usually quite low. Furthermore, many VoIP providers offer unlimited long-distance in which case the calls are free.
- Can you give me a technical overview of VoIP?
As the name implies, Voice over IP refers to calls that traverse networks using Internet Protocol (IP). The voice stream is broken down into packets, compressed, and sent toward its final destination by various routes (as opposed to establishing a single, ‘permanent’ connection for the duration of the call as with a traditional phone line), depending on the most efficient paths given network congestion, etc. At the other end, the packets are reassembled, decompressed, and converted back into a voice stream by various hardware and software elements, depending on the nature of the call and its final destination. For a more detailed technical overview of VoIP technology, please see our article: VoIP 101.
- On 5th June 2015