Will voIP Make the Telephone Ring?

by : John Sheridan

As a large proportion of people worldwide are increasinglyfavouring the Internet as a means of communicating with others,it should come as no great surprise to see it being adapted toencompass that other technological marvel of our age, thetelephone.

Once again, the Internet has taken another step forward in itsevolution, this time with the arrival of voIP (voice overInternet Protocol). By using the Internet as a signal carrier,this system allows users to make and receive free or cheaptelephone calls anywhere in the world. Whilst voIP is still inits fairly early stages, it is however showing all the signs ofbeing a huge success.

Apart from a computer, there is only a minimal amount ofequipment required to access this service. Firstly, users wouldhave to route calls through a voIP provider, what is needed thenis a fast connection such as broadband together with a telephoneand voIP adapter and you're up and running. Calls are then madeand received in the normal way.

This latest technology whilst advancing the capability of theInternet even more could simultaneously be signalling the onsetof a decline in conventional telecoms companies, who may findthat they will have to adapt rapidly to keep up and compete inwhat could turn out to be another communications revolution.There are at present quite a number of voIP providers already inexistence who have obviously seen the potential in this systemand taken early action to be a part of it from the outset.

Is it a possibility then that the telephone could become thenumber-one method of communication again and eventually gainsuperiority over email? One of the main attractions of email isthe fact that apart from the standard ISP charges it isotherwise free to use. It is therefore hardly a shock that sinceits inception email has relegated the art of letter writing tothird place with the telephone only just above it as a preferredcommunication medium.

So, is all that due to change with the arrival of voIP? Willfree or cheap telephone calls compliment or outstrip email usagein the next year or two? That remains to be seen. To thefar-sighted among us, voIP is a natural progression that wasbound to happen sooner or later. To the rest of us it is anexciting new concept that will not cost a fortune to operate, abenefit many will welcome with open arms.

There is however, a certain amusing irony in the fact that asthe very system that contributed to the decline in telephoneusage, the Internet could now turn out to be the biggest aid toits revival. The constant growth and ever-increasing abilitiesof the Internet has most of us asking the question, how muchfurther can it go? As far as our imaginations will take us,would for the time being be as good an answer as any.

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