What is VoIP in New Hampshire?
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and may also be termed IP telephony. In simple terms, it refers to phone services delivered over the internet. VoIP allows users to make voice calls using broadband internet connections instead of regular phone lines.
What are VoIP and Internet Calls?
VoIP and internet calls are technically the same thing. They refer to a technology that allows the delivery of high range voice communications as well as multimedia sessions over IP networks. VoIP and internet calls use the internet as the transmission medium for telephone calls by sending voice data in the form of packets. Real-time voice signal transmits from the source IP address to the destination IP address.
How Do VoIP and Internet Calls Compare with Landlines and Cell Phones?
Traditional telephony services such as landlines and cell phones work in a different way to VoIP technology. Landline communications are based on the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) technology. PSTN is operated by local, national, and international carriers using copper wires to carry analog voice signals. PSTN follows the circuit switching concept which opens a circuit by establishing a dedicated path between two phones during communications. During communication, voice travels in small sound waves and is carried through the landline's diaphragm for conversion into electrical energy. The electrical energy travels over wires to another phone and is converted from electrical energy into sound waves at the receiver's end.
Cell phones work in much the way as two-way radios, consisting of radio transmitters and radio receivers, When you talk over a cell phone, the phone converts your voice into an electrical signal, which is then transmitted through radio waves to the nearest cell mast. Cell towers house communications equipment along with antennas to support cellular communications. A network of cell towers then relays the radio waves to the person you are speaking to, converting it first to electrical signal and then back to sound again. Where a cell signal is strong, the whole process occurs seamlessly. However, if the cell signal is weaker, both the caller and the recipient experience dropped calls and stalled data transmission.
VoIP systems use packet-switching technology to convert analog voice signals into digital data. That is, sound waves are converted into digital data for transmission over the internet. During VoIP communications, when a VoIP phone receives digital data from another device, it splits the data into information packets and puts a destination address on each packet. The converted data is sent over a broadband line to the router. The router then finds the shortest path to its destination. To optimize the final route, the packets may pass through multiple routers before arriving at its destination. The receiver's VoIP-enabled device uses the address of each packet to put the packets in the correct order and reconstructs the message for presentation as recognizable speech.
VoIP calls offer the following advantages over landlines and cell phones:
- Cost: Cost savings when using VoIP is huge when compared to cellular or landline communications. The savings come from several areas, such as inexpensive plans, low international calling rates, some free calls, no maintenance contracts, and no requirement for equipment upgrades.
- Flexibility: Landlines are fixed to specific locations such as your office and home. VoIP works more like an email which can be used anywhere you are logged in. Provided you have access to a broadband connection, you can make internet calls from your VoIP-enabled devices from any location.
- Unified Communications: Landlines are phone lines only. VoIP communications include much more than voice. You can chat, talk, have video conferences, and engage in several channels at the same time.
- Scalability: VoIP systems are easy to scale up or down depending on the number of users without having to invest capital on purchasing new equipment or paying for unused resources.
- Better Voice Quality: VoIP uses modern compression technology known as codecs to digitally convert sound, eliminate fuzziness and static, before sending communications over the internet. Many codecs have twice the bandwidth of an analog phone call, which supports more clarity in calls.
- VoIP allows multiple inbound numbers to be linked to the same device, with the possibility of multiple devices simultaneously using the same VoIP number.
- VoIP offers additional features that are not readily available from traditional telephony service providers such as caller ID, call-waiting, voicemail boxes for free. Regular telephony service providers typically offer such features at a premium.
It should be noted that reverse phone lookup services can work with VoIP numbers as well.
Does New Hampshire Regulate VoIP Providers?
No. In the State of New Hampshire, VoIP services and IP-enabled services are not considered as public utility services. The State clarifies that a provider of either VoIP or IP-enabled services may not be regulated as a public utility or an electing local exchange carrier.
What Do You Need for VoIP and Internet Calls?
A high-speed internet connection is required to make VoIP or internet calls. Fast connections are available through Fiber to the Premises (FTTP), Ethernet, 4G/LTE, or 5G connections. The other tools required are dependent on your preferred mode of internet calls.
- Analog Telephone Adapter: You can make internet calls through a VoIP phone or an analog telephone adapter (ATA). With ATAs, you can connect a standard phone to the internet, allowing you to use an existing phone with the VoIP system. An ATA converts analog signals into digital data for transmission over the internet. You only need to plug the lead from your telephone that typically goes into the wall socket into the ATA.
- VoIP Phone: A VoIP phone plugs directly into your router using an ethernet cable, allowing calls to be made and received using the internet. VoIP phones are already set up with the necessary hardware and software to make the phones work.
- Smartphones: You can make internet calls from smartphones or tablets by installing a VoIP application on the device. Mobile applications such as WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook Messenger, Facetime, or Skype are available from application stores. It is even possible to make free internet calls between parties who have the same VoIP applications installed.
- PCs and Laptops: VoIP software is required to be installed on a PC or laptop to make internet calls from the device. Software such as Skype or Google Talk are available for computer downloads. Computers and laptops already have microphones and speakers embedded to facilitate internet calls.
Are VoIP Numbers Different from Regular Phone Numbers?
Both VoIP numbers and regular phone numbers can be generally considered real telephone numbers. As with regular phone numbers, VoIP numbers are assigned to users when they sign up for a VoIP service. However, basic differences exist between the two:
- Regular telephone numbers are allocated to specific devices, like a SIM card, a landline phone, or a cellphone. VoIP numbers are allocated to a person or user.
- Incoming calls to VoIP numbers can ring multiple devices simultaneously or one after the other depending on how the service is configured. Regular phone numbers can only be used on a single device at a time.
- VoIP numbers are not location-specific. Regardless of where a user signs up for a VoIP service, assigned numbers can be used anywhere as long as a high-speed internet connection is available.
Can You Make Free Internet Calls?
Yes, provided you meet the requisite conditions. The basic requirement to make free internet calls is a high-speed connection. In addition, you must utilize a VoIP application or software. These internet call applications facilitate free phone calls in the following ways:
- PC to Phone: these applications allow users to make free internet calls from computers to regular telephone numbers.
- App to Phone: these make free internet calls possible from mobile devices to regular phone numbers. Through this method, you can make internet calls to landlines or mobile phones that do not have VoIP applications installed.
- PC to PC: With the same type of VoIP software installed on two computers, you can free internet calls between the two PCs.
- App to App: You can make free internet calls between devices such as smartphones and tablets that have the same VoIP applications installed. You cannot make internet calls to regular phone numbers through this method.