How Does VoIP Work?

VoIP phone service (Voice over IP; also known as digital phone service, digital telephony, or broadband phone) replaces your phone line with a high-speed Internet connection. It's that simple.

While traditional telephone service compresses your voice into a frequency on a wire, VoIP compresses the sound of your voice into packets of data. In milliseconds, these data packets are sent over the Internet. When the data reaches the final destination, it is converted back to sound. If use VoIP to call someone on the traditional phone network (the "PSTN" or Public Switched Telephone Network), the VoIP call is converted to sound once it reaches the network and the call is routed normally. The difference is that you've paid a lot less for that call.

If you're a visual learner, the diagrams below will show you how VoIP calls are routed in specific situations. The last diagram shows the most typical call path: phone-to-phone. This is what your call path will look like when it's routed by a VoIP company, such as Phone Power or ITP, to the PSTN.

What does VoIP mean for me?

VoIP means saving money on your monthly phone bill without sacrificing quality or convenience.

Use VoIP like any other phone: pick up, wait for the tone, and dial the number. That's it. There are no extra numbers to dial and no special routines to follow. You don't even need a new phone, just a VoIP adapter. If you have a headset and VoIP software, you don't even need that: you can just call from your computer. Computer-to-computer calls may be free, too. If you call the public network or an external phone, you will probably have to pay by the minute.

We recommend checking out VoIP phones and VoIP phone service. VoIP service is much cheaper than traditional telephone service, especially when it comes to long distance and international calls. You don't stand by your computer waiting on calls and you don't have to worry about software compatibilty. Also, VoIP phone packages are usually loaded with features. What's advanced for the phone company comes standard with with VoIP phones.

One example is voicemail. You probably have some kind of answering machine with your old-school telephone. With VoIP voicemail, you get the improved functionality of voicemail (for instance, the ability to call someone back directly and easily), plus you can get each voicemail emailed to you as an audio file attachment. You can even use your email to track missed calls or call the person back & directly from your email. That nifty feature is called "Click to Call."

Will VoIP tie up my Internet connection?

It won't. Your broadband Internet and ISP (Internet Service Provider) can handle the slight increase in traffic. In some cases, your VoIP provider will include a broadband connection as part of the deal to guarantee good service. VoIP the exact opposite of dial-up — you can talk on the phone and browse the internet, no problem.

VoIP Connection Diagram

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