While not everybody knows VOIP by name, chances are the majority of people online are at least familiar with the technology and have used it in the past (if not regularly), as many instant messengers and webcam applications come with Internet telephony capabilities, and many portable devices already have the hardware needed by default (a microphone, a speaker, and Internet connection).
What is VOIP?
VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol, and as its name implies - it enables voice calls via the Internet, instead of relying on cellular signal. Naturally, it makes a lot of mobile operators wary of the technology, except in cases where they also have data services (which allows them to offer VOIP plans, riding on the benefit that it will free up their cell towers while still retaining subscribers.)
Due to the individual successes of wireless networks and voice over IP, it was only a matter of time before the two compatible technologies come together in order to give birth to wireless links for voice over IP calls: VOIP over Wi Fi.
The main pull of VOIP over Wi-Fi (or VoWI-FI) is that it can reduce telephony costs (the main benefit of VOIP) while also freeing employees from their desks. Additionally, mobile workers will be given access to make cheap calls via the growing number of public WiFi hotspots. Basically, VOIP over WiFi is a way cheaper alternative to providing employees with roaming cellphone accounts.
The biggest draw of VOIP, besides cost savings, has always been convenience, and while that convenience usually meant that users are tied to a desktop with a mic and headset combo, but with the advent of wi-fi capable phones, the sweet spot has finally been reached and VOIP can now be used on the road.
Advantages Over Conventional Phones
As mentioned above, the main advantage of VOIP is cost efficiency. Unlike traditional calls over cellular technology, voice calls that use the Internet are not metered. This is why many businesses have chosen to migrate to VoIP systems from their traditional copper wire telephone systems. In 2008 alone, over 80% of all new PBX lines that were installed were VoIP.
Skype is one of the more popular names in the VOIP industry, and it saw the potential firsthand, as they were originally marketed only towards people who want to talk to their friends overseas for free, but it eventually started catering to businesses, offering free of charge connections between their employees over the skype network.
Quality of Service
It used to be that VOIP was perceived to be less reliable than circuit-switched public telephone networks, since there's no fundamental network-based mechanism to ensure that data packets are not lost and are delivered in the right order. However, the advancements in the technology, coupled with a general increase in available bandwidth these days has completely negated all the flaws, and VOIP nowadays is every bit as reliable as conventional phones. While traditional cellular phones still have a place and a use, it can't be denied that VOIP will work as great supplements that will allow businesses and individuals to save on call costs and provide a much more convenient means of communication wherever you are.
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