VoIP, or voice over internet protocol, is becoming a popular choice as a “telephone” provider, even though in a technical sense, VoIP does not work like traditional phone lines. A traditional phone line relies on circuit switches to route calls, whereas VoIP uses packet switching. Packet switching involves sending small packets of data through the internet between participants of a call, only when those packets are needed. The system is efficient and easy to use.
How does VoiP Work
VoIP conference calls connect all participants through the internet, and the service is usually available through any VoIP service provider. As with any conference call, you will usually need to make arrangements with the participants in advance, and follow the usual protocols for ensuring that there is an agenda, and a facilitator to ensure that the agenda is followed and all topics are adequately covered during the call. It is possible, however, to conduct an impromptu or ad hoc conference call by simply adding other participants to a call in progress. This can be accomplished by placing the original on hold temporarily and dialing a new number. Once the new call is established, the first call can be reconnected. This process usually has a limit, though, as some service providers limit the number of parties that can be on the call, and only the person who initiated the call can add other participants to it.
VoIP has its limitations in other ways as well. Unlike traditional phone lines, VoIP will not continue to work during a power outage. It also requires a reliable and consistent internet connection, since any reduction in the quality of the internet connection will immediately make itself known in the quality of the voice transmissions. VoIP conference calls may not be a good choice when combined with an internet-based visual presentation of any sort, since VoIP tends to use a lot of your computer’s power, and if you take away too much of that power to do other things, the voice quality can deteriorate badly.
While many people work in a traditional office and only go to meetings down the hallway, a new breed of satellite office workers are now only using Video Conferencing methods for all there meetings. Read our Main Article on Video Conferencing to understand your options and limitations.