Voice over Internet Protocol, commonly known as VoIP technology, is gradually becoming the preferred choice of phone users. The technology enables the routing of voice over Internet or any other IP-based network instead of routing it over dedicated circuit-switched voice transmission lines.
The advantage of this technology is that it can be used to make a voice call from one computer to another computer, from a computer to a conventional phone or cell phone, and from one phone to another phone. Most important, these calls can be made at very low rates. Experts predict that almost 75% of world traffic will move on to VoIP over the next five years.
When VoIP technology was first used to make voice calls it was from a computer to another computer. At that time, the voice quality was not good, and only a few geeks used it. The usage underwent a revolution when companies like Vonage and Comcast introduced VoIP phones. These phones, which are attached to high-speed broadband lines, work like conventional phones.
Their big advantage is that they can be used to make calls at a fraction of the cost of conventional phones. They also come with several value added features like call forwarding, international call forwarding, caller id by number, caller id by name, call-waiting, call-waiting caller id, disable call waiting, distinctive ringing, repeat dialing, return dial and three-way calling.
This is not all. The technology provides several other advantages such as call blocking, call filtering, sequential ringing, secondary virtual phone number, additional service lines, toll-free numbers and web-based management. This makes the phones working on VoIP technology far superior to the conventional phones. Since VoIP technology depends upon Internet, security and privacy are major concerns. In order to allow privacy and good sound quality and security against viruses, worms, Trojans and spywares, most of VoIP service providers use their own secure lines and patented technologies.
Today there are scores of cable, DSL and telecom companies that are providing VoIP-based phone services. They offer very attractive call plans ranging from $8 to $35 a month. The aggressive competition is expected to drive the prices further downwards.