Technology is increasing daily and plenty of consumers are facing new challenges about learning new forms of communication using computer hardware or software. The changes in our world raise many questions, and these common questions and answers focus on one growing area of communication, IP Telephony or Voice over Internet Protocol. These questions that people often ask are heard all over these days, but our answers will help explain much about this new phase of keeping in touch with others.

What exactly is IP telephony?

IP telephony is a term that refers to VOIP technology or Voice over Internet Protocol. It is essentially the routing of voice conversations over a network, such as the internet, or any IP based interface. IP telephony, Internet telephony, Voice over Internet Protocol, VOIP, Broadband telephony, Broadband phone, and Voice over Broadband are all terms that relatively refer to this in the same way. If someone mentions any of those terms, they are likely referring to the notion of IP telephony. It is a growing aspect to communications, too, and many people are starting to use it in their homes to help with their communications aspects.

Where did IP telephony come from?

IP telephony is a commercial evolution of the 1973 project called “Network Voice Protocol”. Network Voice Protocol was a computer networking project that was used to transport human speech patterns over communications networks. It was developed by internet researcher Danny Cohen of the Information Sciences Institute and was created to demonstrate that it was possible to develop a feasible blueprint for two-way voice communications over a digital network. The Network Voice Protocol project was used to send speech between sites on the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network or ARPANET. ARPANET is a United States Department of Defense project designed to produce a global network. It also became an ancestor of the internet.

Isn’t a VOIP user “handcuffed” to an internet connection if they want to use the phone?

Certainly a drawback to the VOIP system is its reliance on internet connection. This reliance on an entirely separate service can make using VOIP telephony equipment seem to be quite complicated, at times. The quality of the connection through the VOIP system is also very reliant on the quality of the internet connection, lending to a distinct relationship between the internet connection and the phone connection that many users regret. VOIP systems can, however, use conventional phone connections for connectivity and can use other business grade network systems like a T1 connection in some cases. Many business providers, in fact, only hook the system up to a T1 connection to enable permanent connection to their network.

Just how reliable is IP telephony, anyway?

As conventional landline phones are connected to telephone company phone lines, they may actually be kept going in the event of power outages or other occurrences that may interrupt the service. Most household VOIP broadband services, however, rely on a modem connection or other powered services to make the phone work. In these cases, a VOIP phone may not be the most reliable service you can have. On the other hand, there are many options you can take to create a more reliable service for your phone so that it will not be interrupted by power outage or other issues.

What are some major VOIP or IP telephony providers?

There are many providers that are hopping aboard the VOIP bandwagon. Commercial use VOIP providers include Broadvoice, Primus Canada, AT&T CallVantage, Skype, SunRocket, Lingo, VoicePulse,, Vonage, and even Yahoo Messenger. Many of these services also have a phone package for home users that enable the same great service to take place within a home setting for Voice over Internet Protocol telephony.

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