VoIP phone service uses the Internet to transmit voice data. This can be done from computer to computer, from a computer to phone or from a phone to phone. In all cases, the voice is converted into digital packets, and routed to its destination.
There may be situations when the user’s phone may not be connected to the Internet. In these cases, the voice data is transferred to the telephone lines of the traditional telecom carrier, and transmitted to the phone.
The phone user, however, is unaware as to how his voice is carried from one point to another. He picks up the phone and dials a number in the normal way. If the phone happens to be an Internet phone, the voice is converted into digital packets, stamped with an IP address and routed to its destination.
The destination may be the server of the VoIP phone company or the IP address of the phone number dialed by the individual. If it is the latter, the digital packets are reconverted into voice signals and the conversation can commence. If it is the former, then the digital packets are converted for transmission over traditional telephone lines, and routed through the infrastructure set up by the local telecom carrier.
VoIP phone services offer two major advantages over the traditional phone services. First, they can be used to make local, STD and international calls at a fraction of the cost. Second, they offer several high-tech features that are not available on traditional phones.
A VoIP phone service can be integrated with the computer enabling users to receive voicemail in their inbox. They can also make phone calls directly from Outlook Express or set up a virtual phone system that offers the features of a large phone system.
There are many types of VoIP phone services. Some like Vonage allow you to use your existing phone or your computer to make calls to any phone in the world. Some VoIP services like Skype enable you to make phone calls from one computer to another through proprietary software.