Voice over Internet Protocol is a method of placing phone calls using the Internet. The old digital telephony is very costly and placing an international call can cost a fortune. On the other hand, Internet is very cheap these days. So VoIP calls are virtually free.
The old calling technology used Public Switched Telephone Network or Circuit Switched Network to place a call. Voice over Internet Protocol uses Packet Switching Technology. In it, after the analog voice message gets converted into digital signals, PST breaks down it into small data packets and sends it over the internet, it can be done by any internet connected and VoIP supported device. As the name suggests, VoIP uses Internet Protocol. One of the most commonly protocol used by VoIP is Session Initiation Protocol.
Corporate sectors were the early adopters of this technology as VoIP providers offers features like cloud communication, cheap faxing, video conferencing, instant messaging, called ID and so on. But recently VoIP has gained popularity among general consumers as well.
The VoLTE is another form of VoIP which uses LTE (Long Term Evolution) or 4G network to place a call and the older version of it is known as VoHSPA (High Speed Packet Access) which used the 3G network. Mobile service providers are also supporting VoWiFi these days where the consumer can use their broadband or any WiFi connections to place calls.
Despite all its benefits, VoIP still needs Internet to work. Thus, it cannot be used as an emergency service since Internet connection can be disturbed. Also, since the communication is basically made over Internet, it can be hacked into by an adversary.
Some of its advantages are:
- It is extremely cost effective.
- You can call someone over VoIP as long as internet connection is available. The distance between you two does not matter at all.
- No extra cables need to be laid for making these calls. Thus, it can also be scaled up quickly as and when required.
- All facilities of traditional phones are available in addition to a host of other features like video conferencing, file exchange, etc.
- It usually has clearer voice quality.
- You can do any other task on your phone/computer/device along with making a call.
On the other hand, its disadvantages are:
- It needs a reliable power connection to the phone/device.
- It needs an internet connection to work. Due to this, it cannot be used as an emergency service.
- Since voice data is sent over the Internet, packet loss can lead to jitter.
- Since it uses Internet and related protocols, it is prone to hacking.
Some examples of Voice over Internet Protocol supported apps: Skype, WhatsApp, Google Duo, Facebook Messenger, Signal.
For Wikipedia entry on Voice over Internet Protocol, click here.
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