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What is VoIP? How Does it Work?

Jul 26, 2020



Question: What is VoIP? How does it work?



Answer: Have you ever used any of the following functions within the last year?

  • Voice chat during an online game (i.e. Fortnite)


  • FaceTime audio or video a friend or family member


  • Used a landline phone at work or school which was plugged into a data Internet connection on the wall

If so, then you’ve used VoIP without realizing it.


Gamer using VoIP


Voice over Internet Protocol, also know as Voice over IP or VoIP, is a method of taking speech and converting it to digital packets.


The packets are then sent over an IP based network, like the Internet, to another destination.


VoIP has evolved quite a bit over the last few decades where it’s incorporated into many activities.


It’s also become so efficient that we don’t really notice the between making a call over the Internet versus using a “regular” phone.


How it works

From a simplistic point of view, VoIP capable devices are need on a network. They must also understand how to reach one another.


One way of identifying our VoIP clients is to assign phone numbers to the devices.


Another method is to assign a URI (uniform resource identifier) which is a technical way of giving a name to a VoIP device.


Once that’s in place, the following occurs:

  1. A VoIP device (calling party) will attempt to reach another by calling a designated phone number or URI.
  2. The receiving device (called party) will be alerted of the incoming request and answers the phone.
  3. Once both parties establish logical communication session between each other, voice conversations at one end of the call (calling party) is spoken into a receiver which is then converted into a VoIP packet to be sent over the network. The receiving phone (called party) decodes the packet using the VoIP device and hears the words spoken. This process continues back and forth until the conversation ends.

Real time Protocol (RTP) between phones. RTP contains the spoken audio between devices on a VoIP network.


Of course there’s more meat to this discussion.


But this should serve as a small appetizer to what VoIP technology is and how it works.