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A Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone is a type of phone that uses digital technology to transmit phone calls via the Internet rather than regular phone lines. Such a phone allows the user to bypass traditional phone companies entirely, placing all calls via the Web. VoIP services require the user to have digital subscriber liner (DSL) Internet service. Despite the difference in technology used with VoIP calls, dialing, talking on the phone, and receiving phone calls is pretty much the same as is experienced with landline phones.
No particular type of phone is required for using VoIP services. Typically, VoIP service providers supply their customers with telephony adapters (TAs). The TA plugs into the customer’s cable or DSL modem and translates electronic data from the user’s phone into special Internet protocol (IP) packets that transmit over the Net. Any existing home phone can be plugged into the TA and used for VoIP phone calls.
Many individuals choose VoIP phone services because it is much cheaper than traditional landline service. You can find local and domestic long-distance VoIP service packages, including a range of extras like call waiting and voice mail, for less than half the cost of traditional phone services. VoIP services also tend to offer very cheap international long-distance rates. Furthermore, calls within the network are usually free. For example, a customer of a VoIP service provider can call another customer of the same provider without incurring a charge for the phone call.
In most cases, no noticeable difference in sound quality can be detected when using a VoIP phone. However, some users may experience occasional drops in sound quality, including a stuttering or choppy sound. Usually, such issues are temporary and may be related to heavy network traffic.
In addition to being cost effective, a VoIP phone offers many other advantages. For example, placing calls over the phone may be faster, as data is transmitted much faster than with landline phones. In fact, you could place about four VoIP calls in the time it takes to place just one 10-minute telephone call using traditional service.
You can also take your VoIP phone on the road, plugging it in at hotels, your friend’s house, or virtually any location with a broadband connection. You simply plug your TA into the existing broadband connection and use your phone to place and receive calls. This eliminates the need for call forwarding and can help you save money on expensive hotel call charges.
Though VoIP calls can be placed using just a regular phone and a TA, some individuals choose to use special IP phones. These phones look like regular phones, but they have Ethernet connectors rather than traditional phone connectors. An IP phone is made to be connected to a router and typically comes with all the hardware or software required for making VoIP calls.
A friend of mine who works for Verizon was telling me recently about the company's plans to start issuing VOIP wireless phone plans, or, more accurately, Voice Over LTE, in 2014.
LTE, or Long Term Evolution, is the high speed wireless data standard that allows you to access Facebook, Twitter, Google and other websites almost instantly via your smartphone. The idea is, with a wireless data network that has close to coast-to-coast coverage in the U.S., Verizon and its competitors are developing the technology to provide all voice coverage (standard phone calls) on the LTE side of the network rather than a separate CDMA or GSM network.
And if 4G LTE is fast enough to support apps like FaceTime and Skype already, it should be capable of transmitting voice calls as well once the bugs are worked out.
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