What is VoIP?

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What is VoIP? Empty What is VoIP?

Post  Admin on Thu May 08, 2008 2:13 pm

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is becoming a popular option to those who are technologically savvy and those who are not. For those who are not, here is a basic, I mean basic, introduction to VoIP.

The definition of VoIP, given by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), is “…a technology for communicating using “Internet protocol” instead of traditional analog systems.” You may be saying to yourself, “What?” as was I. Okay, “Internet protocol” is basically the way one computer speaks to another on the internet. Through all the technological verbiage you can deduct that VoIP is a phone connection that is obtained through your internet connection. Most VoIP programs require a broadband connection (a high speed internet connection) but can also be activated through a Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), cable modem or wireless broadband. It’s also important to know that you may not be able to use your regular phone to access this technology. You will need a computer, adaptor or a specialized phone.

VoIP is not a new technology. It was first introduced in the 1990’s, but due to an inability to make broadband be all that it could be, the VoIP revolution died out. It wasn’t until 2005, that this technology has made a strong comeback. VoIP opens up a myriad of technological possibilities related to corporate communications and even keeping in touch with your own family. Customers like VoIP because you can be on the phone and the internet at the same time. You can even take some VoIP services along with you when you travel. There are some negative aspects that have been noted.

A main concern is access to 911. On a traditional telephone the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) can identify your location and inform the emergency personnel that are in the closes vicinity to you. VoIP services are portable and can be used at most internet connections. If an emergency call is made from a VoIP number, depending on whether the address information that your VoIP service provider has, emergency services may have a hard time finding your location. This is a main concern for most customers and many complaints for this inadequacy have been registered with the FCC. While the FCC admits there are definite discrepancies, it is working with VoIP service providers to alleviate this issue.

If you decide that VoIP is for you, the FCC offers the following tips to you:

Provide your accurate physical address to your interconnected VoIP service provider to ensure that emergency services can quickly be dispatched to your location.
Be familiar with your VoIP service provider’s procedures for updating your address, and promptly update address information in the event of a change.
Have a clear understanding of any limitations of your 911 service.
Inform children, babysitters, and visitors about your VoIP service and its 911 limitations, if any.
If your power is out or your Internet connection is down, be aware that your VoIP service may not work. Consider installing a backup power supply, maintaining a traditional phone line, or having a wireless phone as a backup.
If you have questions about whether the phone service you are receiving is an interconnected VoIP service, contact your service provider for further information.

Hopefully this information has aided in your understanding of VoIP and your decision whether or not to use this technology.


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