What is VoIP

 

How does VoIP work?

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol.

The technology behind VoIP is not new. It is easy to understand and there are a few basic steps that are followed each time you make a VoIP call.

1. You place your call by dialing a telephone number to any normal telephone number anywhere in the world.

2. A connection between you and the dialed number is then established.

3. As you talk into your telephone handset your voice is converted into digital data.

4. This data is then transmitted across the connection that you have already established by dialing the other parties telephone number.

5. The data is routed across the Internet using the same standard computer language that the Internet uses - which is called Internet Protocol (all computers connected to the Internet understand and use this language to communicate).

6. The data that was your voice is reconstituted on the other side into normal analogue sound that human beings understand.

It is easy to see why the technology is called Voice Over Internet Protocol!

You can place a call from any normal telephone number to any other normal telephone number from anywhere at anytime.

Nothing else changes! All that happens in the background is that the path taken for the call follows a different route via the Internet as opposed to via the phone company's network.

VoIP is actually a very simple technology. But it is also powerful and as you will see it can save you substantial money over conventional phone calls via your usual telephone operator (Telkom) that basically does the same thing, but using their own network to route your calls.

 

What speed line do I need?

In order to use VoIP successfully a high speed Internet connection via wireless broadband will work for you.

 

Is there a voice lag?

No. And yes.

The 'lag' that is heard on international phone calls when using a regular phone company is due to the physical distances between the callers. VoIP has the same limitations. The physical signal whether 'voice' or data still has to transmit across the distances involved.

However, the lag time that can result from time to time on either 'normal voice' or VoIP technology is due to what it known as latencies when the signal stream is switched across multiple carriers (such as when the Voice carrier in the foreign country takes the signal over from the local voice carrier).

Hence, if there is a lag it is not due to the technology being used. It is a characteristic of the network itself. The Internet as a network is as fast as any voice carrier network.

In most instances you will never notice a substantially different lag to what is considered normal.

 

How reliable is VoIP?

VoIP is an always on always available service. As long as your Internet connection is working the service will also be working. Therefore VoIP is as reliable as any telephone service on offer from a normal phone operator network (such as Telkom).

You will be able to make calls at any time from any place to anywhere. Furthermore because it is a paid for service on a demand usage basis - YOU decide when you want to place a call - the network is geared to having excess capacity to cater for upsurges in demand for the service. As the service load increase the network makes more guaranteed capacity available.

You will be able to make as many calls at whatever time you like to wherever you like without hassle or reliability issues. In esence, a great, cheap replacement for your Telkom line!

 

How much bandwidth will I need?

VoIP uses approximately 20 kb/s for crystal clear voice communication. A typical dialup connection connects at 56 kb/s.

This means that the technology is not bandwidth intensive and will not clog your high speed Internet connection when you are using the technology to make calls.

You will be able to simultaneously surf the Internet or check e-mails whilst you talk.

 

Can I work online and talk at the same time?

Yes! Because VoIP is not bandwidth intensive you can use your computer to browse the Internet and check e-mails whilst you or someone else uses the phone.

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