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Goodbye Telephones: Easy Ways to Make Calls with VoIP

5 minute read

By Chelsea Hammond

The way people call each other has changed drastically over the last few decades. Not so long ago, people relied solely on landlines to make calls. Today, the use of landline phones has rapidly declined, as voice over internet protocol (VoIP) has taken over the telephone landscape.

VoIP technology allows people to use the broadband internet they already have to make and receive calls, both at home and on the go. If you’re thinking about making the switch from landlines to VoIP, you probably have several questions. How does this technology work, and what type of calls can you make? Read on to discover the answers to these questions and more.

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VoIP Frequently Asked Questions

Since VoIP seems like relatively new technology, you might be hesitating to transfer because you don’t fully understand how it works. However, VoIP technology was developed around 1995, but it didn’t become popular until recently. Waiting to use new technology is a pretty common phenomenon. For example, the first cell phone was invented in the 1940s, but it didn’t reach widespread use until the early 2000s.

A few of the most commonly asked questions about VoIP technology are discussed below.

How Does VoIP Technology Work?

VoIP technology works by converting a person’s voice into digital data. This digital data can then be transmitted over the internet so the person on the other side can hear it. VoIP technology works similarly to how all other phone technology functions. The primary difference is the method of transmitting voice. With cell phones, radio waves are responsible for sending a person’s voice. With traditional landlines, special cables are used instead.

When Is VoIP Better Than Landlines or Cells?

One of the reasons people choose VoIP solutions over landlines or cells is their accessibility. Anyone with access to broadband internet can use VoIP services and, thanks to modern innovations, those services can be accessed using almost any phone.

VoIP may be a better phone solution for people who live in areas with poor cell service. VoIP doesn’t use traditional cell towers. Instead, it uses your internet service to make calls. VoIP solutions will use other internet hotspots to make your phone calls if you’re on the go.

What’s Needed to Get Started?

Getting started with VoIP is simple. Of course, you’ll need a reliable internet connection with decent bandwidth. If you aren’t sure how much bandwidth you have, you can call your internet service provider (ISP) to ask. If you aren’t technologically inclined, your ISP can also tell you whether your bandwidth is appropriate for VoIP. Besides an internet connection, some VoIP solutions use plug-and-play phones that you’d receive from a service provider. Other solutions work with any phone, and there aren’t usually any hardware requirements.

What Are the Benefits of Switching to VoIP?

While there are several benefits to switching to VoIP services, the primary one is affordability. VoIP phone solutions are significantly cheaper than alternatives, including landlines and cell phones. This makes it the perfect choice for any person or company with a limited budget. Other benefits include accessibility and ease of startup. VoIP services are available anywhere there’s a reliable internet connection, including on the go. Because startup requires few (or no) special requirements, it costs very little.

Are There Any Downsides to Using VoIP?

There are downsides to any phone solution you choose, and VoIP is no exception to this rule. The most significant downside is that call quality can sometimes be lower than alternatives, especially in areas with poor internet connectivity. Speaking of poor internet connectivity, VoIP isn’t accessible in places without internet. Although this isn’t a widespread problem these days, it could cause issues for people who live in regions without the internet. If accessing the internet is an issue, landlines are a better solution.3

Can You Use Your Regular Phone to Make VoIP Calls?

Sometimes it’s possible to use your regular phone to make VoIP calls. However, this isn’t a feature available by all VoIP service providers. If you want to have the ability to use your regular phone, you’ll need to research different providers ahead of time. Information on the types of compatible phones should be available on the provider’s website. However, if you can’t find this information, you shouldn’t hesitate to call or email the company you hope to use.

Ways to Make Calls

One fantastic aspect of VoIP phone services is that there are several ways to make calls, which aren’t strictly limited to phone-to-phone calling, like traditional landline or cell phone usage. Although traditional phone calls are possible, you can also make calls from one computer to another or from a computer to a phone and vice versa.

You might be wondering how each of these different call types works. There are three primary types of VoIP calls: computer to computer, phone to phone and computer to phone (or vice versa):

1. Computer to Computer

VoIP allows you to make calls from one computer to another or any device running operating systems and using digital data. For example, this might include tablets, notebooks and smartphones. To make a call from one computer to the next, all you need is your electronic device, a microphone and a headset. Of course, you’ll need to install VoIP software that allows voice communication before you make phone calls, but after you do, you’re all set. The person you contact must also have the ability to receive the call for this to work. Generally, they’ll need to have the same software on their computer, and both devices should have a minimum of 100 kbps bandwidth for good voice quality.

2. Phone to Phone

You can use cell or analogue phones to utilize VoIP phone to phone calls. While this is one of the most convenient ways to use VoIP, it can also be the most expensive option because both parties must have phones. To use an analogue phone for VoIP calling, you’ll need an analogue telephone adapter (ATA) installed. The ATA is crucial because it converts voice data into a digital format that can be sent over the internet. ATAs are commonly bundled with the package you receive when registering for VoIP services.4

3. Computer to Phone (or Vice Versa)

You can also make calls from a computer to a phone or vice versa. When using a computer to make calls, you can call any traditional phone (cells and landlines). When using a phone to call a computer, that device must have the appropriate software installed. When you use a computer to place a VoIP call, the digital signal reaches a gateway that converts the raw data into the voice data needed for a traditional landline phone. The process is the same except in reverse for calling from a phone to a computer.

Where to Find VoIP Deals

VoIP technology has transformed the way people can make and receive calls. Regardless of the method you use, VoIP is a highly reliable, more affordable option than traditional landlines. Of course, you want to save as much money as possible, and sometimes VoIP phone services can be purchased at discounted rates. If you’re looking to save, you may be able to find low prices and deals through a bit of online research. Thanks to increasing prevalence, VoIP providers and packages may allow you to make international calls for pennies. Some packages could even include specific calls for no cost.

Chelsea Hammond