VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol is any technology that enables users to enjoy telephony services using IP networks instead of a traditional phone line. Generally, VoIP calls are transmitted via the internet. However, there are instances where VoIP calls are transmitted over Local Area Networks (LANs).
What are VoIP and Internet Calls?
VoIP and internet calls are not different in terms of mode of operation and function. All calls and multimedia communications over an IP network are referred to as VoIP and internet calls. These calls include phone calls, live chats, video calls, and text messages that use the internet as the medium of delivery. Devices enable VoIP calls by transmitting data as packets with IP protocols instead of traditional circuit transmissions. VoIP numbers may be verified with the help of a reverse phone lookup application or a reverse phone number service provider.
How Do VoIP and Internet Calls Compare to Landline and Cell Phone Calls?
Landlines or Plain Old Telephone Services (POTS) enable phone calls by converting sound waves into electrical signals and then back to sound waves immediately they reach the recipient. Landlines transmit phone signals using copper wires and telephone exchanges, and the recipient must be available to take the call.
Unlike Landlines, cell phones do not require copper wires to transmit signals from the caller to the receiver. As soon as a call is initiated, cell phones transform voice sounds waves into electrical signals that are transmitted over radio waves. The signal is then converted back into sound waves when they reach the recipient.
Before a call reaches the recipient, a cell phone connects to mast towers, which are technically antennas that route the phone calls through local base stations to their appropriate destination. However, individuals may spoof their phone numbers to display an area code that is different from the actual location they are calling from.
VoIP uses IP networks connection, especially the internet, to transmit digital signals to receivers. VoIP uses specialized telephones (IP phones) to connect directly to modems and routers through ethernet connections. With IP phones, sound waves are converted to digital signals using CODECs. These are computer algorithms that can compress or decompress an audio file. VoIP may also work with Softphones and Analog Telephone Adapters (ATAs).
Softphones are software-based phones that facilitate telephone services on a computer application that function as hard phones. VoIP calls offer the following advantages over landlines and cell phones:
- Lower costs: VoIP calls save money compared to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) or the traditional circuit-switched telephone network.
- Accessibility: VoIP provides more accessibility opportunities than traditional phone calls. A working data connection is all one needs to receive and make calls with the technology. With VoIP, individuals can direct a call to another person if they are unavailable.
- Portability: A VoIP number can be used on the go. Unlike traditional phone numbers, a VoIP number is easily portable.
- Higher scalability: VoIP can increase in capacity with relative ease than traditional phone lines.
- Multitasking: Users can perform more than one function simultaneously. For example, it is possible to send videos or messages while having a conference video.
- Flexibility: VoIP networks are user friendly. Subscribers enjoy unlimited packages except for restriction by available bandwidth regarding the number of calls that can be handled on a VoIP network.
- Easy to use: To make a VoIP call, you can use any compatible device instead of just a telephone handset. Some of these devices, like computers, tablets, and VoIP phones, may be used without extra charge. They can even be integrated with landlines using ATAs.
- Clearer voice quality: VoIP delivers a better HD quality than many other telephone services. Users can enjoy their call without worrying whether the recipient can hear them. To make a high-quality call, all one needs a stable internet connection.
Does Kentucky Regulate VoIP Providers?
Telecommunications and broadband services in Kentucky are regulated by the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC). However, the commission does not regulate VoIP and IP-enabled services except what is stated in the Federal law. The PSC maintains certain authority in lifelines and universal services, consumer complaints, and compensation disputes. VoIP complaints can be submitted to the office of the Attorney General of the State.
What Do You Need for VoIP and Internet Calls?
To make an internet call, there are necessary conditions that must be met before the call can be made. While other equipment required to make internet calls depends on the VoIP method, a strong internet connection and a fiber-optic network are necessary. VoIP calls are better with full FTTP or ethernet connections.
If you are using a landline, an Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA), and a compatible telephone, you can make a VoIP call. Plug the ATA into a wall socket or a router. If you are using a router, ensure it is compatible with your device.
To make a VoIP call with a computer, you need the necessary software, a microphone, and a headset or speaker. Software programs like Google Talk, Skype, and Apple Facetime enable you to call anyone on the internet with the same software. However, using a PC to call actual phone numbers usually attracts phone charges.
Mobile phones are also used for VoIP calls. These phones, preferably smartphones require applications to place a call. Mobile apps like WhatsApp, Viber, and Skype support internet calls, and they need to be installed on both the caller and receiver's phone. Some of these applications support phone calls to landlines and mobile phones, but this attracts extra charges. The charges may be too expensive if you use mobile broadband without unlimited data. Wi-Fi connections are much better since you do not bear the cost directly.
Are VoIP Numbers Different from Regular Phone Numbers?
A VoIP number is identical to a telephone phone number. However, it differs from regular telephone lines in some areas such as:
- VoIP numbers are not assigned to specific phone lines or devices. They are assigned to individuals and can be used on more than one device.
- The same VoIP number can be used simultaneously on multiple devices.
- VoIP numbers are not limited by physical locations.
Can You Make Free Internet Calls?
Kentucky residents can make free internet calls if they have the necessary phone applications for these calls. Internet phone applications support free phone calls in the following ways:
- App to App: Residents may use apps on their smartphones or tablets to make free calls. However, such calls are only possible if the recipient has the same application installed on their phone. App to app calls requires both parties to have a proper internet connection and compatible software.
- PC to Phone Applications: This enables individuals to call a regular phone number with either their laptop or desktop. For this to work, the caller must have a software program that supports calls to mobile phones.
- App to Phone Software: Residents can also make calls using a mobile device. This allows you to call any number, even landlines, and phones that do not have the app installed on their phone for free.
- PC to PC: Individuals can make free internet calls from one computer to another. This requires that both PC's have the appropriate applications installed in them.