What is a VoIP in Alabama?
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a technology that allows individuals to place and receive voice calls over an internet connection. VoIP can also route incoming and outgoing calls through existing telephone networks. Their services include auto-attendant, custom caller ID, call recording, voicemail to email, and more. The devices must be connected to an active internet connection. The devices are assigned Internet Protocol (IP) addresses that make them identifiable and reachable on the internet.
What are VoIP and Internet Calls?
VoIP or internet call is the delivery of voice and multimedia communication over the internet. Unlike a regular (analog) phone line, VoIP uses a broadband internet connection to connect two individuals over the internet. VoIP offers more capabilities than regular phones at more affordable prices. These calls transmit data as packets using IP addresses instead of the traditional circuit transmissions of public switched telephone networks (PSTN).
Generally, individuals who subscribe to a VoIP service can make calls with their computers, smartphones, or tablets. Some services enable the individual to make long-distance and international calls. However, some VoIP service providers may restrict subscribers from calling anyone that is not registered on any VoIP service.
How Do VoIP and Internet Calls Compare to Landline and Cell Phone Calls?
Landlines transmit the caller's voice as small sound waves. The sound goes to a thin metal disk inside the phone known as a diaphragm, where they are converted to electrical energy. Landlines transmit the electrical energy along copper wires to the recipient's phone. However, the electrical energy is converted back to sound waves again so that the individual at the other end of the phone can hear the caller.
A cell phone does not need wires before it can transmit your voice. A cell phone transforms sound waves into electrical energy with the help of a microphone. These phones have microchips that can modulate radio waves installed in them. The microchip allows the radio wave to travel to a nearby tower, which serves as antennas routing your call to the appropriate destination.
The tower sends your voice to the person you are calling, and the process is reversed at the other end so that the recipient can hear you. Residents who receive phone calls from unknown numbers can contact a reverse phone lookup service provider. VoIP starts with an active internet connection and connects to a switch or router in your Local Area Network (LAN).
When a VoIP subscriber dials a telephone number, the subscriber's IP phone sends a request to the VoIP service provider to call the number the individual requested. The VoIP service provider can establish the call and exchange data packets (digital signals) from your IP phone. IP phones convert sound waves into digital signals using CODECs, which are computer algorithms for compressing audio sounds.
VoIP calls offer the following benefits:
- High-quality sound: VoIP features HD voice applications which increases the sound quality of your phone calls. With a strong internet connection, VoIP audio will produce a clear sound quality. Your audio will not be muffled up or fuzzy.
- Call encryption and security: VoIP is safe and secure as data travel over the internet. Generally, IP phone systems come with in-built security that prevents scammers from tapping your call.
- Low cost: VoIP services are cheaper than traditional phone calls. VoIP will not charge you extra for wiring. It reduces your phone bill by over 60 percent.
- Advanced features: Subscribers can explore premium features like auto-attendant, call queues, and call recording. These features are usually found in the business phone service plans.
- Remote ready: VoIP allows you to enjoy your service wherever you work. No technical setup is needed for this.
- Wider reach: VoIP allows you to call anyone worldwide. Long-distance rates are as low as $0.04 per minute.
- Accessibility: Unlike regular phone calls, VoIP does not require physical structures to function. VoIP call services are accessible anywhere there is a stable internet connection.
- Unified Communication: VoIP can optimize teamwork. This feature allows you to integrate all communication within an organization with live chats, video meetings, conference calls, mobile, and desktop apps.
- Multiplicity: VoIP numbers can be used on more than one device at the same time.
- Easy phone number porting: VoIP numbers can be ported easily without help from technicians.
Does Alabama Regulate VoIP Providers?
The Telecommunications Division of the Alabama Public Service Commission (APSC) regulates Telecommunication and broadband services in Alabama. But the commission maintains limited jurisdiction over the telephone service providers in the state of Alabama. The APSC does not have justification and regulatory control over cable technology, internet service, and VoIP calls in Alabama.
In Alabama, VoIP calls are regulated by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). The FCC makes sure that VoIP providers do not violate any part of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (CALEA). When a provider fails to comply with any of the rules, subscribers can file a complaint online or contact 1-888-CALL-FCC(1-888-225-5322). The Office of the Attorney General (AAG) also monitors VoIP service providers and subscribers’ activities.
What Do You Need for VoIP and Internet Calls?
Internet calls require a broadband connection. This can be available through a cable modem or a high-speed internet service. Experts recommend FTTP or ethernet connections for the best VoIP experience. Once a strong internet connection is available, you need a computer, a specialized phone, or an adaptor. For landlines, you need an Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA).
Plug the ATA into a router or a wall socket before placing a call. For computer calls, you need either a laptop or desktop, headset, and software that facilitates internet calls such as Skype, Apple Facetime, and Google Talk. These apps facilitate both short-distance and long-distance calls.
Are VoIP Numbers Different from Regular Phone Numbers?
Technically, a VoIP number is a real telephone number. However, a VoIP number differs from the regular telephone number in the following ways:
- VoIP numbers may have a Direct Inward Dial number that is accessible to the public.
- Physical location does not limit VoIP numbers.
- The number is assigned to individuals, not phone lines.
- VoIP numbers can be assigned to multiple device users, and individuals can use the number simultaneously.
- The number requires data networks such as the Internet or LAN to make calls.
Can You Make Free Internet Calls?
Individuals can make calls on the internet without paying a dime. However, these calls require a strong internet connection and relevant applications. Internet phone applications enable users to make free calls in the following ways:
- PC to PC: you can make free calls by connecting your PC to another computer. Calls over the computer require that both the caller and the recipient have a compatible phone application installed on their phones.
- App to App: only smartphone or tablet users can make this type of call. It also requires that both parties use the same or any other compatible software to make the call. This method may not work for landlines or other mobile phones that do not have compatible software.
- PC to Phone Applications: these applications enable individuals to call a real telephone number with their PC, especially when both devices are using compatible software to make the call.App to Phone Software: this allows a call from mobile devices to a real telephone number. Individuals can make phone calls to any number, including landlines and mobile phones.