Voice Over Internet Protocol
This simply means that you can have a phone call without using the traditional phone line. Instead, as the name says, you are using the Internet.
1) Using the computer (original option)'
This was and still can be as simple as using your computer with a headset and microphone. This always means that you can only receive a call, if your computer is on and the VOIP program is running.
2) Using a box adaptor (more common)
As time went on, many people did not like the restriction of being connected to the computer. So providers came up with a box to bypass your computer and use your original style phone.
Some modern Internet providers supply an adapter so that you can use the wiring in your own home. This adds to the confusion for many customers as to what they really have.
3) Software for other devices (newer)
In this modern age, there is even better choices for VOIP. One of the most visible are that many cell phones can now use an app to save on long distance charges
Many people in the USA and Canada truly take advantage of this. However, Canadians will use up too much of the Data plans and that would cost more in the end. For Canadians, it is cheaper to get a Canada wide long distance plan.
There are only two types: business and personal.
For business uses, it can come in very handy, as this system has a lot more versatility within their companies and branches.'
For personal use, it will depend on the Internet providers and the personal choices of the individual as to whether they have a land line, VOIP or both.
Many VOIP providers have confused people over time. For example: what is your "Home Phone". That should be the traditional copper phone wire line. No Internet required. Some cable services have confused people and they do not know which they are using, a land line or VOIP.
VOIP very commonly (but not always) includes all the phone line options, where a traditional land line will be broken down into packages to charge more money.
VOIP will not work with Dial up. It needs broadband / high speed services.
Many providers say that you can use any broadband service. They are correct! However, the lesser the speed the more broken up the service will be. You and the other person would lose syllables to full words, making it very hard to understand each other.
I recommend at least 10Mbps speed or better to maintain quality services. If you choose or have no choice but to use a lesser Internet package, you will have to reduce or even stop all other Internet uses, such as movies, videos, radios, web browsers, etc. Also keep cutting back until the service is stable.
Some Internet services have been known to give interruptions in the quality of the signals if you are using a third party service. Therefore, if you are using a third party VOIP service, check your area to find out if this will be an issue for you.
VOIP has its place in the market. Making sure you understand what you are getting and what and how you plan to use it. For example, if you have a lot of overseas calls to make, then it is a great idea. If you have great Internet, then you could give up your phone line, especially if it saves you money.