Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) capitalized on the Internet’s vast infrastructure to introduce a revolutionary challenge to traditional telephone networks. But what is it?
VOIP networks – like Skype and Vonage – instantly transmit calls using digital packets that are sent across the Internet to other locations. The introduction of commercially-viable broadband Internet connections around 2004 paved the way for significant development of VOIP networks. Their popularity has surged since then as the system matures and becomes more dependable and secure.
Typically, costs associated with VOIP systems are much less than traditional telephone closed circuit networks because infrastructure is already present and specialized hardware is not needed. It’s these characteristics that have made VOIP networks popular with everyone from grandmas to corporations. In fact, business VOIP is experiencing particularly strong growth as companies discover the wide-ranging benefits.
Here are 15 fun facts about VOIP networks:
- The number of worldwide VOIP users is expected to be inching toward 300 million by 2013.
- VOIP quality is only as good as the network being used to transmit the signal.
- A high speed Internet connection and computer are the only prerequisites for a VOIP network.
- A power outage will generally interrupt VOIP networks unless there is a backup system.
- Many cellular services now offer mobile VOIP connections.
- Some VOIP providers allow you to call only other subscribers, while others allow calling to anyone with a telephone.
- Voice mail on a VOIP system can be left via email.
- VOIP started out as a peer to peer communications device, but the low-cost functionality has made it desirable by many business interests, especially those who engage in extensive calling.
- Most VOIP systems are “plug and play,” meaning they require very little expertise to set up.
- Most VOIP carriers allow free calls to other subscribers within the network. Calls made outside the network are still generally much less expensive than traditional telephone.
- Most VOIP networks offer voicemail, call waiting, conference calling and other amenities typical to traditional calling.
- VOIP can be used anywhere there is an Internet connection.
- Many VOIP services support video calling.
- Improvements in technology over recent years have rendered the quality VOIP calls as clear as landline connections in most cases.
- Analytical tools available with VOIP services allow users – particularly businesses – to better understand how their system is being used so that accounting and planning is improved.
VOIP has proven itself a worthy technological advance that will continue to re-shape the calling landscape in coming years as users are lured by low cost services, greater amenities and quality that rivals traditional telephone networks.