The following article is taken directly from the United
States Federal Communications Commission. These are their
answers to some frequently asked VoIP questions. It also answers the question, What is VoIP?
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What is VoIP Internet
VoIP allows you to make telephone
calls using a computer network, over a data network like the
Internet. VoIP converts the voice signal from your telephone into a
digital signal that travels over the internet then converts it back
at the other end so you can speak to anyone with a regular phone
number. When placing a VoIP call using a phone with an adapter,
you'll hear a dial tone and dial just as you always have. VoIP may
also allow you to make a call directly from a computer using a
conventional telephone or a microphone.
How Can I Place a VoIP
Depending on the service, one way to
place a VoIP call is to pick up your phone and dial the number,
using an adaptor that connects to your existing high-speed Internet
connection. The call goes through your local telephone company to a
VoIP provider. The phone call goes over the Internet to the called
party's local telephone company for the completion of the call.
Another way is to utilize a microphone headset plugged into your
computer. The number is placed using the keyboard and is routed
through your cable modem.
What Kind of Equipment Do I
broadband (high speed Internet) connection is required.
This can be through a cable modem, or high speed services such as
DSL or a local area network. You can hook up an inexpensive
microphone to your computer and send your voice through a cable
modem or connect a phone directly to a telephone adaptor.
Is there a
difference between making a Local Call and a Long Distance
Some VoIP providers offer their
services for free, normally only for calls to other subscribers to
the service. Your VoIP provider may permit you to select an area
code different from the area in which you live. This means you may
not incur long distance charges if you call a number in your area
code regardless of geography. It also means that people who call you
may incur long distance charges depending on their area code and
Some VoIP providers charge for a long
distance call to a number outside your calling area, similar to
existing, traditional wireline telephone service. Other what is VoIP
providers permit you to call anywhere at a flat rate for a fixed
number of minutes.
If I have VoIP
service, who can I call?
Depending upon your service, you might be limited only to
other subscribers to the service, or you may
be able to call any phone number, anywhere in the world. The call
can be made to a local number, a mobile phone, to a long distance
number, or an international number. You may even utilize the service
to speak with more than one person at a time. The person you are
calling does not need any special equipment, just a phone.
What Are Some
Advantages of Internet Voice?
Because VoIP is digital, it may offer features and services
that are not available with a traditional phone. If you have a
broadband internet connection, you need not maintain and pay the
additional cost for a line just to make telephone calls.
With many VoIP plans you can talk for
as long as you want with any person in the world (the requirement is
that the other person has an Internet connection). You can also talk
with many people at the same time without any additional cost.
What Are Some
disadvantages of Internet Voice?
If you're considering
replacing your traditional telephone service with VoIP, there are
some possible differences:
· Some VoIP services don't work
during power outages and the service provider may not offer backup
· Not all VoIP services
connect directly to emergency services through 9-1-1.
· VoIP providers
may or may not offer directory assistance/white page listings.
Can I use my Computer While I talk on the
Can I Take My Phone Adapter with me When
You may be able to use your VoIP
service wherever you travel as long as you have a high speed
Internet connection available. In that case it would work the same
as from your home or business.
Does my Computer Have to be Turned
Not if you are making calls with a phone
and adaptor or special VoIP phone, but your broadband Internet
connection needs to be active. You can also use your computer while
talking on the phone.
How Do I Know If I have a VoIP phone
It will ring like any other
FCC Regulate VoIP?
Communications Commission (FCC) has worked to create an environment
promoting competition and innovation to benefit consumers.
Historically, the FCC has not regulated the Internet or the services
provided over it. On February 12, 2004, the FCC found that an
entirely Internet-based VoIP service was an unregulated information
service. On the same day, the FCC began a broader proceeding to
examine what its' role should be in this new environment of
increased consumer choice and what it can best do to meet its role
of safeguarding the public interest.
Aspects of these
considerations may change with new developments in internet
technology. You should always check with the VoIP service
provider you choose to confirm any advantages and limitations to
their service. Hopefully, this article will help you answer, What is VoIP?