According to Jupiter Research, more than 20 million U.S. households will have VOIP phone service by 2010. VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) uses the Internet to transmit voice signals and make phone calls. The history of VOIP started with the growth of the internet in the late 90s. Small companies started offering free phone services through the internet and PC. However, the calls were marked by bad sound quality and latency. These problems have disappeared with broadband connections becoming popular as well as new VOIP hardware emerging.
There are two ways to receive VOIP service. One is through a phone adaptor/router, which is used to connect traditional phones to the internet. The adaptor’s purpose is to convert analog phone signals to digital voice data signals. The second way to receive VOIP service is through PC–to–PC calling. Skype is the leader in PC–to–PC calling while Vonage is the most popular adaptor based VOIP service.
VOIP Features and Benefits
- Cheaper calls, and in some cases, free
- Make calls from your laptop
- Access voicemail online and save it on your computer
- Caller ID with names
- Take your phone (and phone number) with you when you travel
- Can transfer local phone numbers
- Conference calls
- Answering machine service
- Wi–Fi phones to take place of your cordless phones
- VOIP service on your PDA Phone using Wi-Fi (save your minutes)
Note that not all carriers have these features, and some features cost extra.