A new technology first developed in the mid-90s is now sweeping the world, changing the way people communicate. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony is becoming increasingly popular with both residential and business customers fed up with paying the high costs of using the public service telephone network (PSTN) for local and long distance telephone service. Using an IP phone VoIP offers a number of distinct advantages for all users with a broadband Internet connection or, in the case of business users, their own IP network. Instead of using fixed PSTN long distance cables, VoIP uses the Internet to send calls all over the world, at rates up to a quarter of those offered by regular long distance carriers.
An IP phone VoIP works by compressing the words you say into your phone into voice data packets, which then travel over the Internet to the person you are calling. When VoIP was first developed in 1995, this required two computers (one at either end of the conversation) with IP phone VoIP software, a sound card, and microphone. These first attempts at VoIP were plagued by "jitter" (VoIP speak for static), delay, and missed connections, but the technology showed a great deal of promise.
Over the past few years IP phone VoIP has developed to the point where computers are completely unnecessary for IP phone VoIP communication, and the quality of VoIP telephony has improved to the point where most users cannot even tell they are using an IP phone VoIP connection rather than a regular PSTN connection. The hardware required for IP phone VoIP telecommunications has become very simple. Residential users plug a VoIP telephone adapter into their broadband DSL or cable Internet connection, either through a router or directly from the modem.
This adapter allows them to use their regular telephone as an IP phone VoIP, and is also portable so that travelers can take their home phone number with them anywhere there is an Internet connection! Business users can use similar hardware, and because they then have no need to maintain a costly and highly technical private telephone exchange (PBX), they have the opportunity to save money on infrastructure costs.
Once the hardware is in place, users simply connect with a service provider, such as Vonage or Net2Phone, which offers various calling plans for all types of customers. Calls over an IP network are completely free, as are calls between customers of the same service provider, no matter where in the world the parties are located, and long distance calls, which travel over the Internet and are routed to the PSTN with gateway hardware, are much less costly with the use of IP phone VoIP.