VoIP refers to the technology that converts audio and video calls to digital form so that they can be transmitted over the internet to a receiver. Typically, when one makes a call using a mobile phone it is transmitted to a receiver through the traditional phone providers’ network.
How it Works
There are several ways in which VoIP operates. First, one can use an Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA).The ATA helps to connect a phone to the internet so as to convert the raw analog information to digital data. Phones that can connect to the internet can also make VoIP calls to other phones using the same provider.
IP phones can also connect to the internet using a special inbuilt RJ-45 connector for Ethernet thereby enabling VoIP. Lastly, one can get VoIP through a computer to computer communication as long as the computer in connected to high-speed internet.
Benefits of VoIP
The Public Switched Telephone Network (PTSN) is made of high infrastructure which is poorly utilized making the call rates higher as compared to the VoIP which has high utilized low infrastructure. Therefore traditional telephony is much more expensive especially when the calls are over a long distance due to the international levies.
The PTSN are heavily regulated by the providers and the particular countries, unlike the VoIP. For example, circuit-switched calls are limited to a particular service and if they are to cross to another VoIP service provider, there are additional levies. The development of PC to PC, PC to phone and eventually phone to phone VoIP has lead to an increase and ease of making VoIP.
Challenges Facing the Growth of VoIP
The major challenge prevalent in some countries is the availability and reliability of the internet connection. The more the people who can access reliable internet connectivity, the higher the chances of increasing the users of VoIP.
Second, some countries have imposed regulations and licenses for VoIP which is retarding the growth of this technology. For example, in Vietnam, PC to Phone or phone to phone internet calls are prohibited. Some countries hesitate on lifting the restriction since it is feared that because the VoIP calls cannot be pinned geographically, they might offer terrorist an untraceable method of communication.
Most VoIP calls have poor voice quality especially the PC to PC calls. This is due to the distance involved and the quality of the particular coding algorithms used. However, with the increase in the phone to phone internet calling the quality of the voice has improved and also due to increased research in this field.
According to The Economist, September 2005, it is not a question of whether VoIP will dominate the communication world but a question of when. With the current incorporation of internet calls by popular social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp, we are mostly facing a decline of the current traditional telephony.