VoIP, or Voice Over Internet Protocol allows you to take a standard analog telephone signal and turn it into a digital signal that is transmitted over the Internet. By plugging any standard telephone into a special device called an ATA (analog telephone adapter) you can use your internet connection to make telephone calls. VoIP telephone calls can also be made directly from your computer using software and a headset. The ability to be able to make and receive phone calls from a wireless “hot spot” in locations such as airports, cafes and hotels is of great benefit to people who are always on the move. VoIP is an amazing new technology that has the potential to reshape traditional telephone networks or even replace them. Many telephone carriers are now selling VoIP services. There are currently a number of different ways that you use VoIP to make and receive telephone calls:
ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter)
An ATA is a simple device which lets you connect any standard telephone or fax machine so it can use VoIP through your internet connection. The ATA converts the analog signal from your telephone into digital data that can be transmitted over the internet. Providers usually bundle this device with their service so that you can start making calls right away.
IP Phones are special telephones which look and work like normal phones but connect directly to your internet connection without the use of ATA device (to convert analog signals to digital signals). An IP Phone plugs directly into your internet router and comes in both wireless and corded models. Business VoIP users generally opt for IP Phones because they have special buttons which allow calls to be transferred put on hold and have multiple lines.
Using software installed on your computer and a headset you can make and receive VoIP telephone calls right on your desktop or laptop. You can even place callers on hold, transfer them to another extension, or answer multiple telephone lines. Some software also allows you to host conference calls.