1. General VoIP FAQ
1.1 What is IP Telephony?
IP Telephony is a communication technology used for making voice calls via the Internet protocol (IP) networks. Users don’t have to rely on the traditional public switched telephone network (PSTN) to benefit from IP Telephony. It is becoming more and more common these days due to its cost effectiveness.
1.2 What is VoIP?
VoIP is a technology which enables users to make voice calls over the Internet Protocol (IP) networks and falls under the umbrella of IP Telephony. The term VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is often interchangeably used with IP telephony. Check VoIP definition link to read other VoIP terminologies.
1.3 What are VoIP Basics?
In the early days, VoIP was only available through computer based soft-phone applications. Hence, the system was called PC to PC and PC to Phone calls. I mention the main basics of VoIP services and systems on VoIP Telephony Basics page.
1.4 How does VoIP work?
VoIP uses your Internet connection, with the help of VoIP hard phones or devices transmit your data, video and voice communications via the Internet (packet switched network). With traditional phone service the calls are transmitted through public switched telephone network (PSTN) NOT Internet. On how VoIP works link you will find more details and diagrams about how the technology works.
1.5 Is there a difference between IP Telephony and VoIP?
Technically speaking, yes, visit VoIP vs IP Telephony page which explain that briefly.
2. Hardware VoIP FAQ
2.1 What is a Hard-phone?
A Hard-phone is a device from any of the VoIP
devices family. Hard phones support transmission control
protocol/Internet protocol (TCP/IP) which is essential for VoIP to work.
They usually have at least one RJ-45 connector port (also known as
Ethernet port) and RJ-11 for plugging telephone devices (except IP
phones). See the following hardware.
2.2 What is USB Phone?
USB phones come with a USB connector to plug
on your computer or laptop. That helps you avoid a headset/headpone and
microphone. USB phones can be used with different softphones and
services such as Skype, NetMeeting, Net2Phone and many others. See VoIP
USB phone article.
2.3 What is an ATA?
An ATA stands for Analog Telephone Adapter which
is used to convert or switch our voice calls. Most ATA devices are
compatible with majority VoIP service providers as they support the most
popular protocols H.323 and SIP. Visit VoIP phone adapter for more
2.4 What is VoIP phone (IP Phone)?
A VoIP phone also known an IP
phone is a device which usually comes with built-in NIC (Network
Interface Cards) for connecting your Ethernet cable to it. IP phone
utilizes VoIP technologies to communicate voice calls just like the
traditional PSTN phones but instead they use Internet. These phones use
different protocols such as Skinny Client Control Protocol (SCCP),
Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) or different proprietary protocols
which are seen in certain software such as Skype. VoIP phones and can
also be used with IP PBX. Check IP phone link for more info.
2.5 What is VoIP Gateway?
A terminal device that is usually used
by small business and VoIP service resellers such as callshop and
Internet café owners. A VoIP gateway comes with multiple FXS and FXO
ports. Gateways have the ability to be connected with PSTN as well as IP
networks. They can also be configured to be used in different ways.
More details on VoIP Gateway article.
2.6 What is VoIP router?
VoIP router is a device that comes with
multiple RJ-45 ports for connecting your electronic equipments that need
network access such as PC, All-in-one printer etc. It comes with FXS
port for your standard analogue telephone so it gives you flexibility
while acting as an ATA and router (LAN). Refer to VoIP router page.
2.7 What is an IP-PBX hardware?
IP-PBX stands for ‘Internet
Protocol’ – ‘ Private Branch eXchange. When IP-PBX comes as hardware, it
provides more features and benefits than traditional PBX that can only
work with PSTN lines. IP-PBX enables you switch over your lines (usually
used with in the businesses) from PSTN to VoIP network or from VoIP
network to PSTN. Go to IP-PBX link for further reading.
2.8 What is a Switch?
A Soft-Switch may come as a hardware or
software. In the case of hardware it is mostly used by VoIP providers
/ wholesale ITSPs for originating and terminating voice traffic
2.9 What is Wireless / Wi-Fi Phone?
Wireless / Wi-Fi Phones look
like USB phone and cellular/mobile, part of the VoIP device accessories
used over wireless Internet access. See Wireless VoIP Phones article.
2.10 What is SIP device?
SIP device is a VoIP device that supports SIP protocol. See SIP software below.
2.11 What is H.323 device?
A VoIP device that works with H.323 protocol.
3. Software VoIP FAQ
3.1 What is VoIP Software?
There are different kind of VoIP Software which are developed to meet certain needs and requirements. Some of
them are freeware while others are paid. Visit VoIP Software page.
3.2 What is Softphone?
A Softphone is an application that
enables you to make and receive calls from your computer (PC), laptop,
Smart phones, PC Tablets and PDAs along with other extra features. One
of the popular such softphone is Skype. Check VoIP soft-phone link for
3.3 What is an IP-PBX software?
An IP-PBX software is an application
which allows you to make voice calls without using any IP-PBX hardware.
Mostly such software are based on SIP protocol.
3.4 What is Soft-Switch?
A soft-switch is a software application mostly
used by VoIP providers to track, record, control VoIP traffics/minutes
and bill their clients. Take a look at soft-switch image here.
3.5 What is SIP?
SIP which stands for Session Initiation Protocol, is a
standard signalling protocol for IP telephony. SIP is defined by IETF
(Internet Engineering Task Force).
3.6 What is H.323?
Similar to SIP, H.323 is also a
protocol which has the similar function of carrying VoIP traffic and
transferring different communications over the H.323 networks and is
used more than the SIP.
4. Service and Solution VoIP FAQ
4.1 What’s click to call?
Click to call is a communication method
similar to call-back solution which is based on web browsers. A person
has to click on an object such as hyperlink text, email links or
attachments and buttons. It is also referred to as click-to-chat,
click-to-text and click-to-talk. For more details go to click to call
4.2 What is PC to PC / PC to Phone calls?
A simple way of
communicating with other people over the Internet with the help of
software also known as softphone. It lets you make calls from your PC to
another users’ PC or phone. Refer to Pc to PC and PC to phone call
links for more details.
4.3 What is Phone to PC Call?
Phone to PC Call is a communication
method in which users make calls from their phones to someone on
his/her computer or laptop. The receiver’s computer has a soft-phone
application with a VoIP telephone number for this purpose.
4.4 What is device to phone call?
Device to phone call is a form of
communication which you make a phone call using a VoIP device. Most
commonly used devices are USB phones, ATAs, VoIP phones etc... Visit VoIP
devices page (from left navigation links) for more info.
4.5 What is phone to device call?
Phone to device call is similar
to Phone to PC Call (mentioned above) in this case the receiver would
be using a VoIP device instead a computer.
4.6 What is phone to phone call?
Phone to phone call is normally
considered the traditional way of communicating over the PSTN based
phones. However, VoIP developers recently provided a solution that users
can access to through their regular phone without depending on
Internet. For instance, call back and calling card systems don’t require
a computer or Internet.
4.7 What is Residential VoIP?
Residential VoIP is an Internet
telephone service which is specifically designed for end users /
consumers. Check residential VoIP services link where you will find
4.8 What is Business VoIP?
Business VoIP is an Internet telephone
service offered by VoIP service providers companies specifically for
businesses. Please visit VoIP for Business article for more information.
4.9 What is International VoIP?
A VoIP solution that allows cheap international calls along with some other extra features depending upon your package.
4.10 What is VoIP call center?
VoIP call center is a service which
has become quite popular among the commercial users because of its
ability to send and receive large amount of telephone calls. It is
mostly used to provide customer support (usually inbound call centers)
and do telemarketing (usually outbound call centers) by large companies
as well as small BPOs (Business process outsourcing, in this context it
means offshore call centers in countries like Philippines, India,
Pakistan and Bangladesh). Check out VoIP Call Center link.
4.11 What is web conferencing?
Web conference is
when one or more users conduct Internet based real-time face-to-face
conference. Refer to web conferencing article.
4.12 What is DID / Virtual Number?
DID which stands for Direct
Inward Dialling is a number allotted to you by a VoIP company or DID
provider, which you purchase and can access from anywhere in the world
where Internet is available. DID is also known as Virtual Number in some
cases. Go to DID – Virtual Number page.
4.13 What is FoIP?
FoIP is an abbreviation for Fax over IP, sometimes
called online fax and eFax etc. FoIP technology lets you send and
receive faxes over the Internet. See FoIP page.
4.14 What is SIP Trunking?
SIP Trunking is a solution
provided by VoIP providers to mainly enterprises. SIP trunking helps you
to replace your BRI/PRI lines, PSTN gateways as well. See SIP trunking.
4.15 What is UC?
UC stands for Unified Communications, a methodology
by which multiple real-time communicational methods are merged or
integrated together. Basically you collaborate and unify all types of
communications such as: telephony, IP telephony, instant messaging,
speech recognition, video conferencing, call control, fax, voicemail,
e-mail and SMS into one platform system.
5. Service Providers VoIP FAQ
5.1 What is VoIP provider?
VoIP providers also known as Internet
Phone Company provides VoIP services, solutions and systems to
residential and commercial customers. Just like the ISP provides you
Internet access and traditional phone company provides fixed/landline
telephone lines. VoIP subscribers require a VoIP provider. Visit VoIP
phone service provider for more info.
5.2 What is a VoIP Carrier?
Usually carriers are ILECs/CLECs e.g.
AT&T and Verizon and others. A VoIP Carrier is the main backbone of
VoIP services and solutions. They lease telephone lines to ITSPs and
VoIP providers. Some list of top corporations in N.America can be found
on VoIP carriers page.
5.3 What's an ITSP?
ITSP stands for Internet
telephony service provider, a company that provides VoIP based
telecommunications services. This term is mostly used among B2B VoIP
companies meaning VoIP wholesale providers.