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What is Voice Over IP?

VOIP or voice over IP has been in existence for decades. The technology utilizes data lines and data networks to transmit audio files in real-time. Cable Internet providers and satellite Internet providers are examples of organizations that leverage the capabilities of high speed data networks to offer VoIP solutions and services to clients. Applications that allow two different locations or individuals to “video conference” utilize the capabilities of voice over IP. The larger bandwidths made possible by fiber optic cable and cable infrastructure have allowed VOIP services to make communications and relationship building easier for remote workers.

How Is VOIP Used?

For individual consumers, voice over IP can replace the use of a traditional landline phone. Some consumers choose to take advantage of lower pricing through a bundled package from their Internet service provider (ISP). The ISP can offer Internet, cable television, and home phone service through a cable modem. The household receives a phone number and plugs in phone equipment into the modem. Incoming calls and outgoing calls operate similar to a traditional phone line, except the voice transmissions are converted to data packets containing audio. The reverse is not true, as traditional phone lines are incapable of transmitting data files.

Challenges of VOIP

Reliability and stability are the main challenges of VOIP, especially with the proliferation of wireless network use. The ability to understand and hear a clear voice transmission over data networks is only as reliable as the network itself. When the Internet or data network experiences high amounts of traffic, the cable infrastructure is compromised, the wireless network connection is unstable, or the cable modem malfunctions, so does the call. In the early days of VOIP use, the amount of network bandwidth and bandwidth capabilities was an issue. This was reflected in the poorer quality of VOIP calls, typically reflected with gaps in the audio, fading in and out, and inability to understand what the voice was saying.

While some of those challenges still exist, the increased bandwidth capacity of today’s networks have made VOIP a much more reliable service. Without VOIP employers would not be able to rely on business models that operate with remote employees. Economical video conferencing with family and friends all over the world would also not be possible without voice over IP. As new technology is developed, VOIP services and capabilities are sure to grow.