ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

An Introduction to VoIP

Updated on October 7, 2015

Communication Evolution

The glory years of snail mail are long gone. The dawn of the internet saw huge changes in how we communicate and stay in touch with each other. Email has all but replaced the letter as a method of communication because it is quick, easy and free. In recent years, however, new forms of communication are beginning to come to the forefront. Skype recently announced that their users were spending 2 billion minutes a day using the communication platform to stay in touch with friends and relatives. You may have heard about people choosing to utilise VoIP services either in the workplace or for personal use but not know what it means. Skype is actually a type of VoIP service. The term VoIP can also be referred to as ‘internet telephony’ or ‘IP telephony’ which can add to existing confusion about what VoIP actually is. This hub looks at what VoIP actually is and the ways it is used.


VoIP & Internet Telephony

VoIP is ‘Voice over Internet Protocol’ and is essentially a way of making telephone calls but doing so by using internet infrastructure instead of a normal telephone line. When you make a normal telephone call it will use a packet switched telephone network (PSTN) and the information will be sent as analogue signals over copper wire. VoIP differs from a normal telephone call because instead of using analogue signals, the voice signal is turned into digital data packets and sent over the internet. Most people that use VoIP will use their computer (as they will often have built in speakers and microphone) to make internet calls but you can use a telephone that has a special VoIP adapter that connects it to a network.

Some people may talk about using IP telephony while others may simply refer to it as VoIP. Is there a difference between the two terms? Technically the two terms do refer to different things but they can be used interchangeably. The expression ‘IP telephony’, or ‘internet telephony’, is an umbrella term for the area of communications that uses the internet, IP standards and digital phone systems. VoIP, therefore, is a type of internet telephony - it refers to the specific way that voice signals are converted and transmitted over the internet.


Using VoIP

VoIP can be very easy to set up. In fact, you may have already used it without realising it. Some long distance calls are now made through the use of VoIP so if you have made a long distance call you may have already used VoIP. The reason that some phone companies do this is because it allows them to simplify and restructure their network. If you want to start using VoIP yourself it can be fairly straightforward to set up. In many cases you will not need to purchase any new hardware because it is quite likely that you already have a broadband internet connection and a built in microphone and speakers. If you are using VoIP in an office setting you may want to purchase a headset that you plug in to your computer. You will then need to pick a VoIP service to use use. Setting these services up will often simply involve downloading and installing some software from the internet. For home use you may want to choose something like Skype but if you are looking for a business solution you will probably need to choose a more advanced VoIP and unified communication platform.



Like most forms of technology, there are a few disadvantages to using VoIP. The quality of your telephone calls does rely on the quality of your internet connection. A good broadband connection is important when using VoIP. In a similar vein, if you don’t have an internet connection at all you will not be able to make any calls - if your internet connection drops you will not be able to use your VoIP service. As normal phone calls are usually of quite high quality, the variable nature of VoIP can seem more obvious in comparison. If your internet connection is fairly slow the compression and decompression of voice signals can cause a lag or an echo in your calls. Problems with lags and echoes can occur in business environments where many people are using shared connections. For the most part, however, if you have a good internet connection you should not encounter these issues.

VoIP can also be inappropriate for making emergency calls. This is down to the fact that due to the nature of VoIP a geographic location cannot, in some cases, be attached with enough accuracy to an IP address. This means that the emergency services cannot accurately pinpoint the location of the call. In addition, some VoIP services do not even provide the functionality to make emergency calls.



Though there are some disadvantages to using VoIP, the advantages of using a VoIP service over a standard telephone network are numerous. Most VoIP services will have a number of extra features and functionality that you may have to pay extra for if you are using a standard phone network. These extras may include: three-way calling, call transfer, call waiting and caller ID. Some VoIP services will also include the option to filter your calls, i.e. you could forward the call to another number or you can give the caller a busy signal. Though these are useful advantages, the main benefit of using VoIP is the cost. There is a wide range of free VoIP services to choose from. Due to the fact that VoIP utilises your existing internet setup there will not be any extra costs on your monthly internet bill. When there is a cost involved, such as when you completely replaced standard phone services with VoIP, it is still much lower than the cost of making normal phone calls. These savings can be up to 90%.

With VoIP you can easily organise group calls and you can send images, text and video as well as a voice signal. There is little need to purchase new hardware as the speakers and microphones required will often already be available on your computer. VoIP can be used over Wi-Fi and most services will optimise bandwidth usage by not using bandwidth when a user is not speaking and in the gaps in conversation. A VoIP system can be useful for those looking to keep in touch with family and friends but can also be an advantageous option for enterprises. A business VoIP system and a good quality internet connection can help companies to save money on phone calls and communication.

Comments & Questions

Submit a Comment

No comments yet.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)