Voice over Internet Protocol (voip), also commonly referred to as Internet Protocol telephony (IP telephony), is a form of telephone communication via the internet. Many businesses these days are using voip wireless communications as a cost-saving alternative to the original copper wire telephone lines, or land line, telephone system.
With voip you can use special voip handsets which look very much like regular telephones, but they are currently still quite expensive and not absolutely necessary for access to IP telephony systems. Personal computers can be fitted with an application software called softphone, which basically converts them into phones, with the numbered keypad displayed on the monitor, dialed by mouse clicks. Some mobile, or cell, phones which have access to the internet and certain other protocol features, can also be used to transmit voice and data communications. Wireless Fidelity, or WiFi, technology allows computers to be connected through local area networks, or LANs, which means that internet connections through cables are not necessary.
Like traditional telephone communication, IP telephony systems enable people to have conversations over the phone, whether it be the handheld phone or via the computer. But unlike traditional telephone, voip communication allows for transferring so much more than voices. Data in the form of documents, excel files and videos can also be transmitted via the IP telephony system. Certainly cell phones provide for the traditional communication through conversation, and some have the capacity to transmit data, but the costs can add up when you factor in the cell phone provider service fee on top of the internet access fee.
Unlimited data plans are available from cell phone providers and the prices vary by provider. Depending on the type of phone, it can accomplish some of the functions associated with IP telephony.
In countries around the world, it is possible to locate IP telephony service providers. Basic features include caller ID, voicemail, fax, three-way calling, call blocking, call waiting, call forwarding, caller ID with name, last number re-dial, information directory, local number portability, and 911 service. Advanced features are also available and they include enhanced 911, or E911, service, anonymous call block, and change phone number.
It is becoming quite a common trend for people to speak to one another, using their computers equipped with cameras and microphones, for free through the internet in programs that use a peer-to-peer networking protocol which is a type of IP telephony. As the technologies and protocols improve and evolve, even more people will want to use these services and it’s likely that more features will become available.
To use only a hand held device like a cell phone with video transmission capability would make such peer-to-peer communication even more convenient because of the mobility it would enable. Perhaps soon such devices will be obtainable, without having to pay for cell phone service.
The existing technologies commonly used in providing voip wireless communications include communication protocols. Protocols are digital message formats and the rules related to how the information is exchanged between systems. Some of the protocols currently in use are H. 323, Session Description Protocol, Session Initiation Protocol, Media Gateway Control Protocol, and Real-time Transport Protocol. It’s hard to imagine how far and how fast these technologies will evolve.
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