The Internet allows us to watch the content of websites, exchange short messages, communicate in social networks, watch videos and work with the electronic mail. But a few people know that the functionality of the Internet is far beyond that – there is Voice over IP which provides you with an opportunity to make voice calls at a very cheap rate. How does this telephony kind work and what is it for?
In this article we will talk about:
- Major Voice over IP protocols
- Principles of VoIP operation
- Billing principles and many other things
In conclusion we will instruct you on how to connect to Voice over IP.
What is Voice over IP?
Voice over IP is one of the youngest means of connection. In fact, it occurred in 1999 when the Session Initiation Protocol (or SIP-protocol) was developed and adopted. It was preceded by a less perfect, but equally functional protocol H.323. It is being used so far, but the further the rarer. Protocol H.323 is tough; it does not save traffic and is featured by insufficient support of users’ mobility.
As for the SIP protocol, it is more convenient and flexible. It allows saving traffic, and different application and devices can work on the basis of this protocol. Users in networks using the SIP protocol can easily travel the world with the same SIP-ID – for that purpose the structure of SIP-networks implies the servers for the detection of location. SIP-protocol allows you to:
- Make voice calls;
- Connect subscribers through video communication;
- Exchange files and other multimedia information;
- Exchange text messages;
- Play video games online.
Internet is used for the connection of subscribers, and special gateways are used to ensure phone calls on mobile and landline phones worldwide.
There is one more VOIP protocol which is called IAX2, developed for working with IP-ATC Asterisk. It is not as open as the SIP one, but it lets you save significant Internet traffic. Aside from that, the IAX2 protocol ensures clearer and a more reliable connection since the data is transferred through several ports, like in the SIP protocol. As for disadvantages, there are difficulties connected with the expansion of a protocol and lack of immunity to hacker attacks in older versions.
“The vast majority of VOIP carriers are offering their services through the SIP protocol since it is more accessible and convenient to arrange communication. The IAX2 protocol is more frequently used in the IP-ATC establishments”.
How VoIP works:
Basic users do not need to figure out the features of protocols they use. They are more interested in the clarity of telephone connection, additional services and cheap billing plans on calls throughout Russia and worldwide. How does this telephony type work and why is the Internet used?
VOIP telephony for dummies is an explanation in hand-waving terms. Therefore we will simplistically and lucidly look at how the connection between two VOIP telephones is arranged. In the space-hold mode both telephones are connected to the Internet and are connected to the servers of selected carriers. As soon as one subscriber dials the number of another one, the servers will find their location and send them a call signal. The connection is arranged right after the second subscriber accepts a call.
All calls go through the Internet, traditional telephony lines are not used here. Therefore there is no billing for on-network calling – subscribers only pay for the traffic they spend (to their provider) which is free in most cases. You can make phone calls through VOIP in the following directions:
- The same network with the use of SIP-ID;
- Two different networks with the use of SIP URI (this identifier is similar to the e-mail address);
- From VOIP telephones to mobile or landline phones worldwide;
- From mobile or landline phones to VOIP numbers.
In the last two cases phones are made through special gateways located in certain cities and countries. Thus, a lot of money can be saved, since calls mostly go through Internet channels without using traditional telephony which depends on the distance to the called subscriber. Also IP telephony subscribers have an opportunity to connect direct and virtual numbers to their accounts which belong to different cities and countries because it is more convenient to accept incoming calls.
By the way, IP telephony subscribers can be located anywhere in the world – the protocol used provides them with the highest level of mobility. Having installed the program telephone on a computer a person can go to Brazil, the USA, to Europe, to China or any other country. In any location where there is an Internet connection, a subscriber can stay in touch. In addition, the billing plan for subscribers will not change by a single cent.
“On-network calls are always free. Subscriber location does not matter at all – they can either be next door to each other or at opposite ends of the world. If subscribers use direct numbers, their location still does not matter – they can accept calls to their Moscow number even if they are in Arizona. This is what we call the subscriber mobility”
Lack of binding to traditional telephone lines makes the connection cheaper and more functional. Servers of providers are ready to connect subscribers located anywhere in the world.
How much does IP telephony cost?
We already know that VOIP telephony is an interesting opportunity to make phone calls through the internet with cost saving. Traditional landline phone cannot boast of an accessible calls billing, whereas VOIP telephony allows communicating with the whole world. Free calls within the network are a major benefit of VOIP. That is, two subscribers, registered at the same provider can chat for free by softphones or IP hardphones.
Subscribers will also be happy about cheap worldwide calls. How does the traditional telephony work? The farther your interlocutor is, the more expensive is a minute of connection. On the Internet there is no geographical binding, therefore, traffic transfer in any direction is limitless and is not charged for any direction. Voice traffic is transferred in the same way. That is why tariffs for this kind of connection are lower.
IP telephony tariffs are sometimes way too low for these or that directions. For instance, calls to Kazakhstan or the United States are sometimes cheaper than calls throughout Russia – this concerns calls on mobile and landline phones. In most cases there is no subscription fee since there is no payment for the line; all subscribers only need to pay the Internet bill.
Billing in VOIP networks is arranged in the following way:
- Free – inside the provider’s network;
- Mostly free – all incoming calls;
- Calls to mobile or landline phones – fee depends on the direction, starts from 4 cents per minute.
“For accepting calls without direct numbers there are virtual ones with additional digits. You can call them in this way – firstly a subscriber calls a special number of a provider (there are many cities with them), and after the call is established he dials the additional number of a SIP subscriber. For instance, +7-495-1234567 and 123456 after the first ringing tone. The incoming call for the destination user will be free in most cases”
What you need to connect to VOIP telephony:
Answering your questions on IP telephony for dummies we will tell you how to connect to this kind of telephony on the example of Comtube. The connection is being executed in several steps:
- Account registration on the provider’s website;
- Top-up of an account (necessary for calls to mobile or landline phones);
- Setup of a softphone or an IP hardphone;
- Making trial calls;
In your account on the provider’s website you will get the information on the program installation and be able to find out your telephone extensions – share them with your friends, relatives and colleagues so that they can call you to your IP telephone.
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Updated: Top Voip Providers:
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