VoIP is an acronym for Voice over Internet Protocol. It is a technology that lets people access telephony services using broadband internet connections to route information. VoIP can also be used in a private LAN system with a router. VoIP offers more options to Delawareans and gives them alternatives to landlines and cell phones. According to the latest report from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), there are over 403,000 VoIP subscriptions in Delaware as of June 2021.
What are VoIP and Internet Calls?
VoIP and internet calls are often used interchangeably. They both refer to phone calls that leverage internet connections. However, a school of thought believes that VoIP service covers only the exchange of voice calls. It also sees internet calls as including every form of telephone service routed over the internet, such as text messages, multimedia messages, and faxing. However, VoIP service providers do not offer voice call service only. They provide full internet calling service as bundles that include access to cable and satellite.
How Do VoIP and Internet Calls Compare to Landline and Cell Phone Calls?
Landline calls are transmitted via copper wires. These wires connect landline phones to an exchange office. Landline phones convert sound waves to electric signals that travel through copper wires to call recipients. The electric signals are then converted back to sound waves on reaching their destination. When the recipient speaks, the conversion and transmission process begins all over again to ensure two-way communication. Landline phones have been around for decades but are experiencing a steady decline due to technological advancements.
Cell phone calls also convert sound waves to electric signals, but the mode of transmission differs from landline calls. Phone calls from cell phones connect to the nearest masts with mounted antennas via radio waves. The antennas then route phone calls through local base stations before getting to call recipients. The transmitted electric signals are transformed back into sound waves once they get to the recipients’ cell phones. A grid system is imposed on cell phone calls to avoid interference.
VoIP calls convert sound waves into digital signals. Algorithms called CODECS are used for this conversion. The digital signals are sent over high-speed internet to called parties, where they are converted back into sound waves and deliver the original messages of callers. Individuals can make VoIP calls from landlines (connected to the internet via ATA), mobile devices, or computers. Software-based phones known as softphones can also be installed on computers to make VoIP calls. Softphones also come as mobile applications on mobile phones.
VoIP calls have the following advantages over landline and cell phone calls:
- Cost friendly: It is cheaper to make phone calls over the internet than to make calls using cell phones and landlines. Corporate businesses can save a lot of money on phone calls using VoIP.
- Multifunctionality: VoIP allows users to enjoy extra features, such as sending multimedia messages and video calling. However, some features attract charges but are usually small.
- Lesser hardware required: Setting up VoIP does not require massive equipment.
- Flexibility: A single VoIP number can be used across multiple devices simultaneously. This allows VoIP users to make and receive calls anywhere, as long as there are internet connections. Subscribers no longer have to miss important calls because the device attached to their number is not available to them at any moment.
- Easy integration: Most business operations rely on the internet. It is easy to integrate VoIP with business operations and ensure seamless digital operations.
- Number portability: It is easy to add new VoIP numbers to an existing network without the support of technicians.
Does Delaware Regulate VoIP Providers?
The Delaware Public Service Commission (PSC) does not control VoIP service providers. The HB96 Bill passed by the 147th General Assembly of the Delaware Legislature restrains the PSC from regulating VoIP service providers. It encourages healthy competition among VoIP providers. Service providers strive to provide quality services at affordable prices to remain the residents’ preferred choices. Users who have service issues with any VoIP provider can report to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). They can also file complaints with the Delaware Department of Justice’s Fraud & Consumer Protection Division.
What Do You Need for VoIP and Internet Calls?
A reliable internet connection is a requirement for making VoIP calls. It is the medium through which sound waves are transmitted from a caller to call recipient. An Ethernet connection or a Fibre To The Premises (FTTP) connection offers the best VoIP experience.
Landlines: For VoIP calls on landlines, a compatible landline phone and an Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA) are required. The ATA plugs into a wall socket or a router and then establishes an internet connection that lets you use your landline for VoIP calls.
Smartphones: To make VoIP calls with smartphones, you must install compatible VoIP applications on your device. Examples of such apps include Skype, Facetime, Google Voice, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp. Both the caller and call recipient must have the same type of app installed on their smartphones to be able to communicate. Some VoIP apps can place phone calls to regular telephone numbers for free, while others charge a small fee.
Computers: Making VoIP calls on computers require users to install web-based software on their computers. A headset and a microphone are needed to facilitate speaking and hearing. Software like Viber, Skype, Facetime, and Google Talk on the computer lets you have a conversation with another person. The call recipient, however, must have installed on their computer the same software as you.
Are VoIP Numbers Different from Regular Phone Numbers?
VoIP numbers are real phone numbers. They have the same numbering format as regular phone numbers and can be searched with websites that offer reverse phone lookup services. The differences between VoIP numbers and a standard phone numbers include:
- VoIP providers assign phone numbers to individuals and not to specific devices as obtainable with regular phone numbers.
- VoIP users can use their VoIP numbers anywhere in the world, provided there are internet connections. Location cannot restrict users from making or receiving calls.
- A VoIP number can be used across various devices simultaneously. Such is impossible with regular phone numbers.
- Unlike regular phone numbers that bear the area codes of registration locations, VoIP subscribers can choose their preferred area code when picking their numbers.
Can You Make Free Internet Calls?
Yes. You can make free internet calls provided you have an internet-enabled device and a reliable internet connection. The following methods will let you make free calls over the internet:
- PC to Phone: With compatible software installed on the computer, you can make phone calls to regular phone numbers at no cost.
- App to phone: You can install VoIP apps on a mobile device and place a free internet call to a regular phone number. The call recipient does not need to have the same app facilitating such a call.
- PC to PC: Free internet calls are possible between computer users provided they have the same software installed on their computers.
- App to App: It is possible to make free internet calls from a VoIP app on any mobile device to other users who have installed on their devices the same applications.