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Why do we really need to understand VoIP?


Nowadays we all have heard at least once the word VoIP, but what is it really all the fever around it, how can that “word” be changing almost all the home and business communication. What is it so wonderful about this technology, which will make us want to know more about it?  Do we really need to understand what VoIP is and who can benefit from it?

Let me tell you that I don’t mean to write in this post about a master class of VoIP technology, my intention is to express my thoughts on why do we all need to change our “old” way of thinking in communication and switch it to the future, which has already arrived and it is among us. Maybe we have thought that it is too complicated or it is not in our lives, but in reality, we all want to get the benefits of VoIP, the same way as we have benefited from the cellular or Mobil technology.

When I think about communications today, it reminds me of “The Jetsons’ video phone”, which at the time, many of us didn’t think we were going to see it or even afford it, but all the internet revolution, open source- android, etc., has helped to make our communications life easier, adapting more features than a regular (analog) phone and making it affordable for more people. We all want to be part of that, we all want to lower our phone bills with international and local calls, we all would like to be able to work from home or transfer calls to our cell, when we are in a hurry or being able to have a video call, like “The Jetsons” did, in the old times, just to mention some of the few advantages of having VoIP communication in our lives. In the past all these features were only possible for Mega Corporations, but today, thanks to technology, we can all enjoy on one way to another the benefits of VoIP.

Who can use VoIP?

Anybody can benefit from VoIP calls as long as they have high speed internet, a VoIP service provider and the right equipment configured for the type of service and system selected.

VoIP can be used at home to lower bills, or communicate through video calls with friends and family with paid calls or even free and of course for the office, mostly to all “SMB”, one of the characteristics of “SMB” is the need to use more resources with lower investment and that is what VoIP can do for them. Anybody with a “Sip Phone system” also called “IP PBX”, can have remote locations, like people working from another state or even country, be able to re-directed business calls to your cell or home phone, have a video conference with more than one person at the time and definitely lower your phone bills. Now to start understanding:

What is VoIP or SIP Technology?

VoIP is very broad concept, which means “Voice over Internet Protocol”, this is as technical as I will get, (as if you know about VoIP, I am pretty sure you have a widely range of concepts). This technology covers the change in communications from analog to digital or even better for a fusion between both of them, where you can benefit from the best of both worlds (analog and digital).

When we talk about VoIP it is referring to the way the communications travels from one end to the other, the software and hardware are set up to convert a voice signal into data packages, that will travel over the internet as data and when it reaches its destinations, it will convert the data package, in voice signal again. All this process is amazing and it involves a lot of different aspects, but for the users it is very simple and affordable. This process will allow you to make calls using a high speed internet connection, without a regular phone line, below are some examples as  the type of calls you make with VoIP technology;

-        Call other people who are using the same software, for free, this software is also called softphone in communications. Depending on the company some services only let you call people with the same software and/service.

-        Call anyone with a phone number; it can be local, cellular even international calls, at a very low rate compared to land line or analog calls.

In regards of the service some of them make VoIP calls only with computers or a special VoIP phone, set up for this purpose. Nevertheless, this kind of concept is also changing, because smartphones, tablets and even IP or SIP Phones are becoming small computers, so nowadays you can make Skype or hangouts calls from your mobile phone or even Android IP Phone.  Other services allow you to use your analog phone with a phone adapter also called ATA (analog telephone adapter).

Now how does VoIP work?

A VoIP service converts voice into a digital signal that is sent as data over the Internet and received on the other side as a voice again. You will need to use a VoIP service; most of the VoIP providers supply software apps and VoIP devices allow the communication.

What devices do I need to make phone calls?

It will depend on the type of service and where the phone (analog or IP Phone) is connected to. Usually a pre-configure devices (with IP hardware and IP Software) is needed, to convert analog signals (regular phone-PSTN) into digital signals (data), which are sent over the internet. All this process can be done with a Phone system, IP Phone, domestics or whom to call if it is a home call service or a business call

 A configure device (hardware and software) is needed to convert analog signals (regular phone-PSTN) into digital signals (data), to be sent over the internet. These can be done with an IP phone by itself or an analog telephone adapter (Ata).

Below are the samples:

Making a VoIP call with an ATA device:

Atas (analog Telephone adapter) connect a VoIP Network to an analog Phone. It usually has a phone jack (to connect the phone) and an Ethernet adapter to connect the Ata to the local area network.


Making a VoIP call to an IP Phone:

An IP Phone, Sip Phone, VoIP Phone, all meaning the same: they look line regular, analog phones with all the features with an ethernet port which connected  to a VoIP Server, Gateway or another VoIP Phone it does not need to be connected to a PC, or any particular software, to make or receive phone calls. It needs to be provisioned or pre-configured with another phone, a VoIP provider or to the IP PBX. The below example is “Phones connected to the VoIP server”



Communication to understand the rest of the course.