VoIP software facilitates voice communication through the Internet. It was initially used to route voice messages from computer to computer. But today VoIP software is being used to make voice calls from a computer to a phone and from phone to phone, at costs that are a fraction of the costs incurred over the conventional phone network.
The low costs and the value-added features that Internet telephony provides has led to a dramatic growth in the number of companies providing phone services using VoIP software. Subscribers who have switched to phone services based on VoIP software find their phone costs reduced by as much as half.
The VoIP software uses the Internet Protocol technology to transmit voice data. The voice is first converted into digital data using an adapter. It is then organized into small packets, and assigned an IP address. The router then sends these packets through different routes to the designated IP address. There, the packets are reassembled, converted back into sound and fed into a phone.
It is interesting to note that the packets are not sent in a sequence. Instead they are sent through different routes. This is done to avoid congestion, and to move the packets in real time to their destination. Otherwise, there will be a lag in time for the voice to reach the other end. There may even be buffering on account of congestion, and the conversation would be jerky.
To smoothen, the movement of voice packets, the VoIP phone companies use high speed broadband or DSL lines. These lines also take care of latency and delays that may result from multiple hops. The phone user is not even aware of how many networks have been involved in transmitting his voice. If the call is from an Internet phone to a conventional phone then the voice leaves the IP networks and hops on to conventional telecom lines. There is no data loss, and all communication is in real time, thanks to the VoIP software that is used to route the calls.
Since the voice is moved over open Internet lines there is always the fear of hackers disrupting the movement. That is why all VoIP companies have to set up multiple firewalls to prevent hackers from breaking into the system. The software itself has been modified to make it sturdier. New Protocols are also being devised to make VoIP software more foolproof.