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What is a VoIP Client?

Updated on November 8, 2012
VoIP Clients for Smartphones
VoIP Clients for Smartphones

How Does a VoIP Call Work?

Contrary to what you may think, VoIP calls actually work in a very simple way. At a broad level, the technology has a great deal in common with the e-mail system we all use. Even the SIP URI that is the addressing protocol for the most dominant VoIP standard reads just like an e-mail address – a username followed by a domain name with an "@" symbol separating them.

When you subscribe to a VoIP service, it's just like signing up with an e-mail provider. The service will act as a proxy for you to send and receive calls. When there's an incoming call that needs to be delivered to you, it will send a message to an application that resides on your device – be it a PC, a smartphone, or a tablet. This application is known as the "VoIP client". The counterpart is the VoIP server to which it connects.

When you want to make a call, the VoIP client passes along that information to the server which makes the connection and acts as the intermediary between the VoIP client and the end destination. So when you sign up for VoIP service, think of it as signing up for expedited email delivery.

Selecting a VoIP Client

Just like you have an e-mail application on your PC or smartphone that contacts the mail server to download recent messages, your VoIP client is in constant communication with the server as well. The difference between VoIP and e-mail is that the latter allows for delayed delivery. You can receive a message and read it several hours later. A phone call however is very different. It has to be delivered immediately or it results in a missed call. So think of VoIP as a modified e-mail service where your phone starts ringing as soon as you receive a message.

There are many free and paid VoIP clients available for every platform. IOS and Android are both awash with them. Bria for both platforms is a very popular paid choice. CSIPSimple is a free and open source VoIP client available on the Android marketplace.

Most of these clients can be used with any SIP provider. So the choice of which service to use is up to you and you can still keep your favorite application on your device. VoIP in Philadelphia is thriving and there are many local Internet telephony service providers who will be able to provide you with excellent hosted business phone service. Learn how you can get started today in as little as 15 min.


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