What is a voip phone?
- A VoIP phone is a telephone system that uses the Internet to complete the phone call. Delivery can either be completely via the Internet, such as phone calls from one VoIP customer to another (especially in the case of two customers using the same service), or handed off to the traditional phone system at some point, like calls to landline or cellular numbers from a VoIP phone.
- VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, and its name describes what happens in the process of placing a VoIP call. While you may still use a traditional phone in the VoIP calling process, your voice is transmitted from the phone to some type of device that digitizes it to be sent as a data packet over the Internet.
How Voice Over IP (VoIP) Works
- The concepts behind “VoIP” — Voice over Internet Protocol — can leave you a little bewildered. We’ve created this plain-English explainer about how your call makes it from your telephone to the Internet and ultimately to the phone of the person you’re calling to help you understand how the process works.
- You’re not going to notice much difference between using a traditional phone service and VoIP. The difference with VoIP is what happens behind the scenes in order to complete that call.
- When you pick up your phone using VoIP, it is still creating an electric current, however your voice signal travels first to some type of device — either an external device called an analog telephone adapter (ATA) or a digitizing device inside the phone. Here your voice signal is converted into digital packets of information that can be sent out over the Internet.
- Now that your voice signal is in digital form, it can travel over an Internet connection just like our emails and other data do. These packets travel to your VoIP provider’s servers, where they then may take a variety of paths in order to complete the call.
- If you’re calling another VoIP customer, especially those using the same service as you, then there’s a good chance your call won’t need to be routed through the traditional telephone system, so it may continue to travel to its destination (the person you’re calling) as a stream of data. But if you’re calling somebody using a traditional telephone, that stream of data isn’t going to be able to be sent through the phone system.
- Your VoIP provider will take the data packets and convert them back into an electrical current, which can then be sent back through the traditional telephone system. Instead of there being an open circuit between you and the person you’re calling, like there normally is, your VoIP provider is acting almost like a two-sided plug that connects two extension cords together.
- While this all seems complex, everything here is happening in a fraction of a second — so quick that it is imperceptible to you.
- You’ll need a special adapter to connect to your phone or a special VoIP phone to place a VoIP call. The adapter may connect to your computer, directly to the Internet via your router or both. Placing calls directly from your computer or a mobile device requires the installation of your provider’s specific application.
- A broadband connection is required to place calls. While a super-fast connection is not necessary, Ooma requires a 384 kbps connection, which is equivalent to a typical DSL connection, in order to operate properly. Nearly every cable Internet connection should have sufficient bandwidth to use VoIP.