Broadband VOIP

Monday, August 07, 2006

VoIP A Global Telecommunications Revolution

It’s being advertised as the biggest thing to hit the telecommunications market since the invention of the cellular telephone, but what is VOIP, how does it work and is it really that revolutionary?

VOIP is an acronym for Voice Over Internet Protocol, and it works by using your broadband internet connection to route your call more efficiently and cost effectively than conventional calling. The most common VOIP method works like this. Your standard telephone is connected to VOIP gateway, usually located somewhere in your house like a basement or utility closet. This gateway takes your voice and converts it from an analog signal to a digital signal. Once it exists in digital format it is broken down into smaller more manageable units known as “packets” and is transmitted over the internet the same way data is transmitted to and from your computer. These “packets” contain information about their final destination and have instructions to enable them to be put back together in the proper order. Once the packets reach the closest location to their desired destination they go back through another VOIP gateway which translates the signal back into an analog format. The gateway then passes the signal over to a PTSN (Public Telephone Switch Network) and your call is routed to the number that you dialed.

As people become more familiar and comfortable with VOIP calling newer and more advanced methods of communication will occur. In the very early stages of adoption are IP Based telephones. Instead of using standard telephone equipment with an RJ45 telephone connection to a VOIP Gateway these phone interfaces directly with the internet through a standard network connection. This enable you to use your phone at home unplug it when you leave and then plug it in at your office and your calls are automatically routed to the phone wherever it’s plugged in. As WIFI networking becomes more prevalent expect to see wifi compatible cellular phones emerge to make calling even more portable.

While VOIP is still in the early stages of adoption there are still some hurdles that need to be overcome. The most important ones include emergency calling, and the need for uninterruptible power sources. However as VOIP and other IP based telephony continues to grow and advance, VOIP service providers will find ways to solve these problems.

VOIP-Voice Over IP at Home: Is it Right for You?


What is VoIP?

Chances are you've heard of VoIP, or "voice over Internet." If not, you will soon, as major phone companies are now trying to get in on the action. Why? VoIP allows users to make phone calls using their high-speed Internet connection. This essentially translates into "free" long distance, or, depending on set-up, unlimited long distance for a low set price for the service. When using VoIP, the traditional phone company is left completely out of the loop--literally. The concept is much the same as email; for the price of an Internet connection and provider, you can send unlimited email messages.

VoIP Pros

VoIP is an affordable method for long distance calling, and depending on where you live, you may be able to transfer you current phone number to a VoIP system. VoIP is easy to use, and depending on the service and method you choose, installation can be as easy as downloading software or attaching an adaptor to your computer. For the most part, sounds exactly the same as with a traditional telephone line. If you are using VoIP and the other person is not, they will not know the difference.

VoIP Cons

Some areas do not yet have this availability, but it is still possible to transfer long distance only to VoIP--it just means that you'll have a separate number for long distance calling. This may be a slight inconvenience, but the savings may offset the cost--it all depends on your needs. Also, some users report hearing an echo when using VoIP. There can also be a slight delay at the beginning of the call.

One primary issue regarding VoIP is the ability to dial out for emergencies. Some providers work to place 911 calls (by configuring your service), and some do not. If you will be replacing your landline or mobile completely with VoIP, this is something you will want to research before choosing a provider and service.

Is VoIP Right for Me?

Deciding to choose VoIP depends on your needs. If you make a large number of long distance calls, it may be well worth looking into. VoIP services are often much less expensive than traditional providers. When comparing VoIP to cell phone programs, it again depends on needs. Most VoIP packages are considerably less than cell phone unlimited calling plans, but of course, VoIP is not as flexible (yet) as far as portability and other features you may not want to give up on your cell plan.

How Do I Get Set-up for VoIP?

Technical requirements for VoIP depend on the service and method you choose to use. There are three types of VoIP options.

• ATA stands for analog telephone adaptor, and it's very simple to use. You connect it to your computer or Internet connection, plug in a regular phone, and you're ready to go! Providers such as Vonage and AT&T CallAdvantage use this option.

• IP phones are special phones that look like traditional phones, but they connect with an Ethernet connector. A similar phone in the works is one that operates with Wi-Fi, which means that when you take your laptop to the local coffee bar to access wireless Internet, you could also make a long distance call.

• Computer-to-computer is an easy way to use VoIP and long distance calls are free; you only pay for the software. To use this method, you will need to download and install the software and be equipped with a microphone, speakers, a sound card and a high-speed Internet connection such as DSL or cable. Aside from the software, the only fees are those for your monthly ISP.

You'll need a high-speed Internet connection to use VoIP, such as DSL or Cable.

Most VoIP options are easy to install. Providers of ATA, for example, will usually send you the adaptor you need when you sign up for the service. If you have a standard Internet set-up, you should be able to easily install the adaptor and software yourself, and be on your way. The process is very simple and straightforward, and once installed, the service is immediate (no waiting 3-5 business days for your phone service!). Connecting an IP phone is equally easy, and computer-to-computer simply requires the downloading and installing of software.

Data Recovery - What Not to Do!

Data recovery is a tricky thing, and if you've somehow deleted or had your important files corrupted or lost due to human error, business espionage, faulty hardware or software or any other reason; the good news is that your lost data is probably recoverable. This article will show you a few things NOT to do when an event such as this occurs.

Don't run the drive anymore, or use the device. (MP3, portable storage, camera card, whatever) If you think it won't hurt to even just poke around the internet for a solution to this mess you've made/found, you're wrong! Don't install or run anything on the drive you hope to recover data from. Only access this drive again from a healthy PC with the software solution you're going to use. Since files are overwritten in the order they've been deleted, the last files that have been excised from your drive will be the first to be lost permanently. Even just surfing, with all the cookies and temporary internet files that are always being generated will often doom the process without you even knowing about it.

Don't use tools that may reside on your computer, such as Scandisk, or a boot record utility, as these will probably overwrite exactly the files you're seeking to get back.

In short, be careful! Your data may very well be recoverable, as long as you don't do something to erase it forever! Find a good data recovery software solution, and then follow the instructions to the letter, and you'll more than likely live to see your lost data return!