VoIP technology encompasses a huge variety of services. There are many ways by which voice can be carried over the Internet. Any time you voice chat with your friends on Gtalk or you make a call using Skype, you are using VoIP services. Not all of these services can however, talk to each other. The need of the hour therefore is to have a standardized form of VoIP communication whereby anyone wishing to talk to any other person over the Internet can do so regardless of the service they’re using, or which company they have signed up with. Much like e-mail. Currently, you can send an e-mail to any person with an e-mail address regardless of whether they are using the same e-mail provider as you.
The standard around which VoIP communication seems to be coalescing is called “SIP”. The SIP protocol is what is known as a signaling protocol. It leaves the finer details of the VoIP call to be negotiated between the sender and the receiver and only provides a platform for them to talk. This works well, since the precise configuration can depend on a variety of factors. So how exactly does an SIP VoIP call take place? It’s quite simple really. It works very much like e-mail, but with a logical twist.
To start with, you have to have a program running on the device you are using to make or receive your VoIP call. This program is called a “client”. If you’re receiving calls on a computer, the client will be either a Windows, Mac, or a Linux program. If you are using a mobile device such as the iPhone or an Android smartphone, the client will be an app which will be downloaded from the respective marketplace of that operating system. If you are using a specialized VoIP phone, the client will come preinstalled on it without you having to do anything.
This client will communicate with your SIP VoIP provider. When someone dials your VoIP number, your SIP provider sends a signal to your client over the Internet and establishes a communication with it. This link is then used to transfer voice data back and forth between the SIP server and your client. So all communication flows through the SIP provider via whichever client you happen to be using at the time. This is how VoIP allows one to use multiple clients with the same SIP provider. That is something the traditional PSTN telephone network simply cannot offer – and never will.
Since VoIP is a real-time protocol, you will be notified immediately whenever you have an incoming call. Unlike e-mail, you cannot “check it later” since someone wants to speak to you at this very moment! Contact your SIP provider to find out how you can get started today with incredibly low rates for both international and domestic calling.