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How does VOIP work?

What is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and how does it work?

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) – also known as an internet phone or a broadband phone is a technical term for what is actually a straightforward concept of making calls over the internet and this is getting attention in Sri Lanka as well. VoIP has expanded in popularity in Sri Lanka recently and is now seen as a genuine and money-saving alternative to making phone calls on a traditional landline.

So could this be the next generation to the standard phone services? Is VoIP really the future in Sri Lanka? and how does it all work? This guide to VoIP will clear your confusion.

What is VoIP and how does it work?

Voice over Internet Protocol may sound like a new innovation as it has only become popular in homes over the last five years in Sri Lanka; however, it actually dates back to the 1970s when it was used as an experiment by the US department of defence.

Traditional phone networks use circuit switching – that is when a call is made, circuits are switched in the intervening exchange creating a connection between the caller and the person being called. By contrast, VoIP employs packet switching – which has typically been used by data networks connecting computers. Within this network, data is divided into small packets which are given identifying information and are then transported across the network. At the end of the line, they are reassembled to provide the information to the receiver.

This process is now applied to voice calls through VoIP. In the past, packet switching was rarely used for voice calls because the reassembling of information would seriously deteriorate the quality of the call. However, due to improved systems which now give priority to voice calls over data, the quality of VoIP is now arguably on the same level as a regular phone call.

With the emergence of the internet and its incredible boom in popularity, particularly in the late 1990s, various companies began to explore VoIP as a serious alternative to regular landline calls.

There are now companies that offer VoIP services in the SRILANKA. These services take a variety of forms:

• PC to PC – This form of VoIP takes place with a headset and is usually used on an instant messenger service. A common example in the world is Skype.

• PC to telephone network – This is when only the caller uses a headset. A common example in the world is CallServe.

• Telephone network to telephone network – When the caller uses an adaptor on the telephone. A common example is BT Broadband Voice in the UK.

• IP phone to telephone network – This is when the phone itself is IP enabled and so there is no need for an adaptor. A common example is Vonage in the UK.