Have you ever felt out of the look when it comes to VoIP? You hear about the term in passing, catch commercials for it on the television, read headlines about it on the internet, but still find yourself asking the question: what is VoIP? And why is everyone so interested?
What is VoIP: The Set-Up
The term actually stands for voice over internet protocol. In the simplest terms, it refers to taking sound, storing it as audio files that can be sent across the internet, and then doing the actual sending. This process can take place in a variety of ways. Those ways include using an adapter which acts as a go-between for your regular phone and your computer, an IP phone (which is basically a phone that runs via the internet instead of your phone cable) and using a VoIP program and the audio function on your computer to eliminate any middle man.
What is VoIP: The Whys
VoIP programs have gained in popularity for a variety of reasons. For one, technology has improved. The problems which used to exist – such as slow internet speeds, lagging system capabilities, limited computer access and poor audio functions – have largely been solved. Cost has also played a role. Long-distance landline prices are still high and the other major alternative – cell phones – have caps on minutes and sometimes charge extra for long distance calls as well. VoIP systems are able to offer the same services for a much lower price, making them appealing to price-conscious individuals and businesses.
What is VoIP: Other Considerations?
In certain areas, VoIP has become increasingly regulated (in much the way that traditional telephones are regulated). The extent to which VoIP may be regulated is still somewhat of a controversy. Some believe that traditional regulations for phone lines should not be imposed over VoIP usage, since the phenomenon is new. There too, in court, people keep asking “what is VoIP” with the only clear answer being “something new and different.”