Getting To Know VoIP
Getting To Know VoIP
Jim Gurol (VP of Operations, Tierzero) gives expert video advice on: What is VoIP?; Is VoIP free?; Why is VoIP so cheap? and more...
What is VoIP?
Voice over IP is the ability to make phone calls over the internet using an IP type phone. Basically, how it works is you pick up the handset, you make a phone call. That phone call gets converted to digital signal, then it's converted into data packets that travel over the internet and arrive at a device on the other side which will undo it, basically, and send it back into analog form. That device is usually hosted at your provider, such as Skype or Vonage, and they provide features such as call waiting or call forwarding, all the features that you get with a traditional phone system, you're going to get with Voice over IP as well.
Is VoIP free?
VoIP can be free if you're calling, for example, a VoIP device to another voice-over IP device on the same network. So even if it's far away from US to China, that call can be free as long as you are calling from the same service provider and using the same service. When it's not free is if it's outside that network and you're calling long distance, then it's just like a long distance call because it has to be converted to the normal network, and so you're gonna pay a rate for that. If you're doing it from PC to PC, again, if you're using the same service, you're gonna get free calls there, but if you have to make an outbound call that's not on service, you're gonna be paying a toll charge. The other thing is, like an ATA device, they all have the same rules. As long as you're using the VoIP service, or within their coverage area, then it could be free. Anytime you go outside their coverage area, or go into another provider, you could be billed for that.
Why is VoIP so cheap?
The reason why VoIP is cheap is because it uses a technology called the Least Cost Routing. And what that does is when you place a phone call to an area code or to a different state, it finds out where it can send that call in a data form. And since the internet is free, that data travels over the internet to all these different locations in different states and then it is converted back into VoIP and to analog at that point and so when you have that data going over to the state and then it gets converted, it's a local call at that point. You are not making those long distance calls, so VoIP providers can save money and therefore pass that savings on to you.
When did VoIP start?
Voice over IP started in 1995 when some hobbyists in Israel developed PC to PC communication using the internet. I realized it became more prevalent when I started seeing commercial manufacturers develop voice over IP sound cards that you plug your PBX into and you could transmit voice over the internet to other remote sites for corporate offices who want to talk to branch offices and save money. When I saw that explosion starting to happen I realized that Voice over IP was beginning to emerge.
Why didn't VoIP catch on right away?
The reason why VoIP did not catch on immediately was because of quality. In the beginning, VoIP calls were choppy and had a lot of latency and the quality was not right. So, it was difficult for people to adapt that technology since the quality was not as good.
Why isn't VoIP the dominant form of telecommunication right now?
A lot of times the VoIP providers are struggling to get penetration into the market because consumers are confused about the service, or they don't want to change their phones, or change their phone numbers. But in the beginning, when VoIP came out, there was no way to move your phone numbers over to the VoIP system, you had to get a new number but nowadays, they are doing local number portability, which allows you to take over your phone number into your existing service.