Residential Voip: A Brief Introduction

By Adam White
VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol and basically means that you can make phone calls using the Internet's existing connections rather than over the fiber-optic line your existing telephone uses. In fact you're not really using the "telephone" at all but a VOIP appliance known as a phone. But there's no need to get really picky on that point.

So how does VOIP work?

It all sounds mysterious and difficult to understand but it's really not. Basically VOIP services convert your voice into a digital signal and transmit it over the Internet. If you're calling another VOIP user that's the end of it; your voice is transmitted digitally. If you're using a VOIP phone to call someone on a regular land line your voice is converted back into a signal those phones can understand. It all happens instantly and almost magically and the call on a VOIP phone system sounds exactly like the call on a telephone system.

You may be wondering what you need to take advantage of VOIP phone service in your home.

The most basic thing you'll need is broadband Internet service such as cable or DSL. You will need some way to connect to the VOIP service. With most providers your computer connects to the service through a special modem and you can continue using your existing phones.

Some providers however require specialized VOIP phones. Many of these providers offer a free phone with setup and lease equipment to their users.

VOIP has primarily been a business service until recently and many home users have had doubts about whether it was right for them.

VOIP residential service is relatively new and the question "Why would I want VOIP in my home?" is a legitimate one.

There are three reasons you might consider VOIP.

The first of course is cost; many VOIP providers offer free or low-cost long distance and the overall phone bill is often quite lower than the bill from the local telephone provider.

VOIP offers many features which local providers may not including with some providers the ability to get email notifications of new voicemail and check voicemail online which is useful for people running a home business.

Finally some people switch to VOIP because of difficulties with their local telephone company. The days of "We're the telephone company. We don't care. We don't have to" are definitely over and VOIP is a big part of that.

VOIP is a digital alternative to analog phone lines but it is far more than that; it is a completely new way of making phone calls which will forever change the landscape of voice communication.

While VOIP is relatively young in the residential area it is growing rapidly and the providers are becoming more established and more experienced in supporting their residential customers.

Where VOIP used to be almost entirely a small business service it is rapidly becoming a real alternative for the residential user.

It will be interesting from a technological point of view to watch as VOIP matures over the next several years and to see how the local phone companies respond to that maturation.

But what will be really interesting is seeing how residential customers respond and how residential VOIP evolves as a result of their feedback.

With You in Technology

Adam White

Adam creates simple to read articles on VoIP Telephones and Cell Phone Internet at

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