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Friday, August 12, 2005

FAQ: Demystifying VoIP

From the article on CNET

What is VoIP?
VoIP refers to voice calls that are routed over online networks using the Internet Protocol--the IP that serves as the backbone of the Internet and is used to ferry e-mails, instant messages and Web pages to millions of PCs or cell phones.

VoIP tends to be relatively inexpensive. Why?
VoIP calls are just another application riding over the Internet. And these calls are unregulated. So at their core, they are no different from e-mails, instant messages or Web pages, which all can be distributed for free between Internet-connected machines. Those include computers and wireless devices, such as cell phones and handhelds, that are set up to receive online information.

Why do some VoIP services cost money, and why are some free?
A VoIP service can connect users not only with other VoIP customers but also with phone services that are offline, such as those that use traditional landline networks and wireless cell phone networks. For those calls, VoIP service providers must pay access fees to the landline and wireless operators. Those charges are passed along to VoIP customers. VoIP services that stay on the Internet--calls that are between personal computers with VoIP service--are free.


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