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What is VoIP

VoIP – Internet phone service

VoIP - Internet phone

VoIP means voice over IP, i.e. voice over Internet Protocol. That is, this communication technique uses Internet for the voice transmission instead of PSTN (public switched telephone network), that is why it is also called Internet phone service. The operation principle of Internet phone is shown in the figure. Unlike PSTN, where connection is made via phone carrier, in the case of Internet phone connection does not require any carrier. Thus the advantage of VoIP Internet phone is clear – data transmission over the Internet is free, that is why VoIP calls are normally extremely cheap.

Most commonly, VoIP calls are made from PC using a special program. The most famous example of such programs is Skype. However, there are many other VoIP PC clients, many of which offer rates much lower than in Skype. As seen in the figure, VoIP calls can be made not only using a computer. There are special phones, called IP Phone, which can be directly connected to a broadband Internet connection, and then one can make Internet phone calls with the comfort of using a regular phone. Besides, one can even connect a regular landline phone to the Internet using a special adapter.

VoIP calls from regular phones

Some companies offer VoIP service from regular phones without the need to use an adapter. VoIP call is then made via a local access number. The call cost consists then of two components: local call to the access number (which is paid to the local carrier) and long distance (or international) VoIP call. VoIP call is normally very cheap, can be even cheaper than the local call, and in some cases it is even free. This approach is very convenient because one does not need a computer or an internet connection and can make calls from any phone. Although the long distance connection is established over the Internet, the quality is generally so high that one is not even aware of the fact that it is not a regular phone line. Rebtel offers this kind of VoIP service in over 50 countries. Apart from very competitive rates, they offer 5 free minutes to the new subscribers, so that one can test their service risk free. Another way to make VoIP calls from regular phones is to use special VoIP software for mobile phones (such software cannot be used on landline phones). VoIP clients for mobile phones are offered by several providers, those clients allow one to use their Skype Out account to make cheap long distance calls from mobile phone.

History of Internet phone service

VoIP protocol was developed in 1993, however at that time the Internet connection speed was too low for high quality voice transmission. Gradually Internet phone programs started to come up on the market, however it took quite a long time until the quality of sound in the Internet phones became acceptable. The first Internet phone program that provided really high quality of sound became Skype in 2003. Together with an aggressive advertising approach, that made Skype an absolute leader on the Internet phone service market. Currently, apart from Skype, there are many other VoIP clients for PC. All of them provide high quality sound, so that the choice of the best client depends on the rates for the particular direction one call most frequently.

Advantages of using VoIP technology

Due to the specifics of VoIP, where the signal travels through the Internet, Internet phone is able to provide many useful functions which are difficult to implement in the regular telephony. Thus, using the Internet phone, one can easily make video calls, chat, send SMS messages to mobile phones, organize conference calls. Besides, VoIP calls can be made from any computer (or any phone in case of VoIP service for regular phones), so one is not bound to use any particular phone at a particular location. And, of course, the most attractive advantage of VoIP telephony are the low rates.

How to turn you mobile into an Internet phone

Most of modern mobile phones can connect to the Internet. Therefore, it became possible to make VoIP calls from mobile phones. One of the ways to do that, offered by Rebtel, was described above – VoIP connection is established via a local access number. Another way is to use special Internet phone applications for mobile phones. The most well known of such applications is fring. Fring allows one to make VoIP calls, including Skype Out calls, directly from mobile phone.