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    Thread: How VoIP Works

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      Jahness's Avatar
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      How VoIP Works

      by Jeff Tyson and Robert Valdes

      If you've never heard of VoIP, get ready to change the way you think about long-distance phone calls. VoIP , or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a method for taking analog audio signals, like the kind you hear when you talk on the phone, and turning them into digital data that can be transmitted over the Internet.

      How is this useful? VoIP can turn a standard Internet connection into a way to place free phone calls. The practical upshot of this is that by using some of the free VoIP software that is available to make Internet phone calls, you are bypassing the phone company (and its charges) entirely.

      This person is using a computer to talk to a friend in another state.

      VoIP is a revolutionary technology that has the potential to completely rework the world's phone systems. VoIP providers like Vonage have already been around for a little while and are growing steadily. Major carriers like AT&T are already setting up VoIP calling plans in several markets around the United States, and the FCC is looking seriously at the potential ramifications of VoIP service.

      Above all else, VoIP is basically a clever "reinvention of the wheel."

      Calling
      The interesting thing about VoIP is that there is not just one way to place a call. There are three different "flavors" of VoIP service in common use today:

      ATA - The simplest and most common way is through the use of a device called an ATA (analog telephone adaptor). The ATA allows you to connect a standard phone to your computer or your Internet connection for use with VoIP. The ATA is an analog-to-digital converter. It takes the analog signal from your traditional phone and converts it into digital data for transmission over the Internet. Providers like Vonage and AT&T CallVantage are bundling ATAs free with their service. You simply crack the ATA out of the box, plug the cable from your phone that would normally go in the wall socket into the ATA, and you're ready to make VoIP calls. Some ATAs may ship with additional software that is loaded onto the host computer to configure it; but in any case, it is a very straightforward setup.

      IP Phones - These specialized phones look just like normal phones with a handset, cradle and buttons. But instead of having the standard RJ-11 phone connectors, IP phones have an RJ-45 Ethernet connector. IP phones connect directly to your router and have all the hardware and software necessary right onboard to handle the IP call. Soon, Wi-Fi IP phones will be available, allowing subscribing callers to make VoIP calls from any Wi-Fi hot spot.

      Computer-to-computer - This is certainly the easiest way to use VoIP. You don't even have to pay for long-distance calls. There are several companies offering free or very low-cost software that you can use for this type of VoIP. All you need is the software, a microphone, speakers, a sound card and an Internet connection, preferably a fast one like you would get through a cable or DSL modem. Except for your normal monthly ISP fee, there is usually no charge for computer-to-computer calls, no matter the distance.


      Try it Yourself
      If you're interested in trying VoIP, then you should check out some of the free VoIP software available on the Net. You should be able to download and set it up in about three to five minutes. Get a friend to download the software, too, and you can start tinkering with VoIP to get a feel for how it works. One place to look is http://www.skype.com.

      But chances are good you are already making VoIP calls any time you place a long-distance call. Phone companies use VoIP to streamline their networks. By routing thousands of phone calls through a circuit switch and into an IP gateway, they can seriously reduce the bandwidth they're using for the long haul. Once the call is received by a gateway on the other side of the call, it is decompressed, reassembled and routed to a local circuit switch.
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      IfasehunReincarnated's Avatar
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      how has this technology changed since it was introduced in the late 90s? i used a system that allowed me to place calls by computer to friends phones. even on a T1 it was a bit choppy at times. do you know if its gotten crisper and more stable?

      its almost as if they are reintroducing the technology like it was new all over. is this because a lot of people didnt jump on board earlier on so they had to revamp the technology and reintroduce it or because more people are finally ready to use it now?

      lastly is there any legislation pending that might hamper the "free" part of this new technology?
      All is Well. Workin' Hard - Tryin' to Save Time for Fam. Check in Periodically.

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      Jahness's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by IfasehunReincarnated
      how has this technology changed since it was introduced in the late 90s? i used a system that allowed me to place calls by computer to friends phones. even on a T1 it was a bit choppy at times. do you know if its gotten crisper and more stable?

      its almost as if they are reintroducing the technology like it was new all over. is this because a lot of people didnt jump on board earlier on so they had to revamp the technology and reintroduce it or because more people are finally ready to use it now?

      lastly is there any legislation pending that might hamper the "free" part of this new technology?
      Greetings brother Ifasehun

      The VoIP technology has changed to such a degree that it is so much more easily accessible that anyone can use it.

      I remember back in the days early to mid 90's when this technology was new. It was great, just setting it up alone was a chore. Like you said the quality wasn't the best and a lot of times it was choppy But realizing the potential it had made my tech buddies and I very happy. So much of our commands included working with DOS for special configurations.

      Today it's a piece of cake and the software is more user friendly as well. With this ease of use people are flocking to this technology like bees to honey. It has gotten more crisper ( I like that term, :o hadn't heard it in a while) more stable and clearer. In a lot of cases people are not even aware that they are using VoIP. You are correct, the market is introducing the technology as if it is new, and it's not.

      What is new about it is the fact that the technology for wiring has also gotten to another level. More companies are improving their lines with Fiber optics as a great option, and the T1-T3's service has improved. Less distortion, noise on these lines which helps a great deal and the data transfer speeds are getting faster and faster every day.

      As far as new legislation goes you know somebody is trying to collect from us poor folks one way or the nexr.

      Check out the link below, that is the latest I got on the newest legislation.
      http://www.assatashakur.org/forums/u...ead.php?t=6418

      Thanks for sharing Ifasehun, I appreciate the input.
      Posted In The Spirit of Learning & Sharing
      One Love & Respect Always

      ***************************************
      The Quest for knowledge stops at the grave.
      HIM Emperor Haile Selassie I.


      If you fail to prepare,
      you are preparing to fail!


      Mind what you want, because someone wants your mind.

      Working together, the ants ate the elephant.


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