When you speak into a VoIP phone, your voice is converted to an electronic signal which is then broken down into packets, compressed, and sent to the end-receiver. At the receiving end, the packets are reassembled, decompressed and converted back into a voice signal by hardware and software.
To avail of the VoIP facility, you need three things - a reliable high-speed broadband connection and either VoIP phones or VoIP adaptors or use microphone and speakers connected to your computer to make calls. There are three different ways that VoIP is currently used - ATA, IP Phones, and Computer-to-Computer.
ATA (Analog Telephone Adaptor) is the most popular and widely used method amongst VoIP users. This adaptor facilitates hooking up your existing phone to your computer that has Internet connection. The ATA converts the analog signals your phone sends out into digital signals that can be sent over the Internet. Availing this system is quite simple. All you need to do is to ask your service provider for an ATA, plug the cable from your phone which would normally go into the wall socket into the ATA, and then plug the ATA into your computer, which is connected to the Internet. Some ATAs include software that has to be installed on your computer before its ready.
The next category of VoIP clients utilizes IP Phones instead of the existing phones. The IP Phone resembles a normal phone, with similar buttons and cradle and the prime distinction is that instead of having a normal wall jack connector, it has an Ethernet connector. Instead of plugging in the IP phone to the wall jack like you would with a regular analog phone, it is plugged directly into the router. You can thus circumvent your personal computer, and you will not be required to install any software as they are all built in to the handset.
Needless to say, the simplest and cheapest way to avail VoIP is through computer-to-computer calls. These calls are absolutely free not necessitating any calling plan. All you need is the software which can be downloaded for free on the Internet, a reliable Internet connection, a microphone, speakers, and a sound card. Except for your monthly Internet charges, there is hardly any additional cost for making calls.
Switching from conventional landline systems to a VoIP system is both easy and cost-effective. If your business is already using a traditional phone system and you want to still use the same phones, you can merely buy the adaptors instead of fresh hardware. IP phones are expensive but they are a good investment if sophisticated communication facilities are needed for your business and you plan to utilize the VoIP system for a long time.
VoIP provides standard features like voicemail, caller ID, and call waiting, as well as a host of optional advanced features like video conferencing, call tracking, online system management etc. Since VoIP is an Internet-based system, you can track and manage your system from your computer. Of course, VoIP service providers offer different types of plans to suit small companies, midsize companies, large corporations, households, and all other types of users. It is a fact that businesses which make/receive large volumes of international and domestic calls stand to save substantial revenue by switching to VoIP phone systems. You will have to select the right VoIP service plan in keeping with your needs.