VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a great technology that allows you to make and receive telephone calls over the Internet and has been in the mainstream now for going on 9 years. It can also be referred to as an Internet Phone. VoIP(Voice over IP) enables you to make cheap telephone calls over a broadband Internet connection, (usually a DSL, broadband cable connection, or T1), instead of using your regular telephone service. You can connect to regular telephone numbers locally or in other parts of the US or Canada, or anywhere else in the world, usually all for one low price for US and Canada, eliminating long distance fees by using a VoIP service from an "Interconnected VoIP Provider", (which most VoIP providers are). In addition, you will usually have low international phone call rates to other countries. The savings can be substantial, with lower fees and taxes levied by traditional telephone carriers. Plus, most VoIP providers offer services with "unlimited" calling plans and an array of features all for one monthly fee.
A requirement for a VoIP connection is a high speed internet connection, such as cable, DSL, T1, or even wireless, as long as the wireless provider's bandwidth meets the minimum requirements for the VoIP provider you choose and their connection is stable enough to offer a connection without packet loss and jitter.
How does VoIP work? Voice over IP explained.
First, voice is converted by an ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter) or IP phone, from an analog signal to a digital signal. It is then sent over the Internet in data packets to a location that will be close to the destination. Then it will be converted back to an analog signal for the remaining distance over a traditional circuit switch (PSTN) (unless it is VoIP to VoIP). Your call can be received by traditional telephones worldwide, as well as other VoIP users. VoIP to VoIP calls can travel entirely over the Internet. Since your voice is changed to digital (so that it can travel over the Internet), other great features such as voice messages to email, call forwarding, logs of incoming and outgoing calls, caller ID, etc., can be included in your basic calling plan all for one low price. Many of these special features are great for the small business person who relies on their phone service to be more a information center rather than just a telephone.