An Overview Of VOIP

By: MIKE SELVON

VOIP refers to Voice over Internet Protocol and is the act of allowing voice conversations to turn to digital items so that they can be transmitted over a network such as the internet. There are many ways to look at the variety of issues around VOIP, most of which will not necessarily offer any clarity to consumers or readers that are not all that versed in technological issues or the internet. The truth is that VOIP can be very complicated and can represent a lot of terminology that many people will not even begin to understand.

Voice over IP services transmit your voice into a sound data packet and transmit that data packet across a network, like the internet, to your intended receiver. A broadband or high speed internet connection is required to participate because that is the protocol by which the communication travels.

This can be a cable modem or a certain package of wireless services, for instance. You also need a computer, a specialized phone, or an adaptor to participate.

Some services allow the user to utilize a normal phone with an adaptor over the computer's network. Other services, however, require a specialized VOIP phone system that can take and receive phone VOIP calls due to special software located within.

In terms of using a normal phone, there is usually a software package that accompanies the adaptor or the program download that can change your normal phone into something that can accept and send voice over IP phone transmissions.

Depending on the limitations of your service, you may only be able to contact other people with a VOIP service program on their network. There are some programs and providers, however, which allow calls to all people on all phones regardless of the network.

If you are calling a person with a basic telephone (analog), that person does not need any special equipment to receive your call or carry on a conversation with you regardless of the type of phone you call on.

There are a number of issues involved that may cause you to think twice about the service, however. For one, some services will not function at all during a power outage. The service provider may not offer backup power for these situations. Second, VOIP servers may not offer white page or directory assistance programs.

This can be curbed rather simply, however, as the internet is literally at your fingertips. Third, not all VOIP servers link directly to 911 or other emergency numbers. You may have to ask your provider specifically about this issue for an answer.

In June of 2005, the Federal Communications Commission of the United States of America enacted a regulation that insisted that all VOIP providers include 911 emergency services or that they include a sticker or form of notification that signalled that the phone did not offer that service.

There was also an active regulation that made VOIP phone systems subject to the same law enforcement capabilities to wiretap. This was also enacted by the FCC and applies to all servers.

Basically, VOIP allows the user to work from a personal phone or computer to connect through the internet or an adapter through a network to another phone or personal computer.

This technology is changing the way calls are monitored, made, and billed around the world. The United States is fast becoming a leader in VOIP technology regulation and is enacting a variety of regulations on the process to ensure the public's safety.

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