What is VoIP in West Virginia?
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a technology that makes phone calls possible over internet connections. VoIP technology is cloud-based, and it eliminates the communications infrastructure that we see in traditional phone networks. It has some features that can help users improve productivities that do not exist with conventional telephone systems. Besides making voice calls, VoIP service is useful for placing video calls and messaging in West Virginia. Making a switch from traditional phone services to VoIP is easy because of the many similar features they share. West Virginians can access VoIP services using IP telephones or dedicated IP softphone clients.
What are VoIP and Internet Calls?
VoIP calls are the same as internet calls and are frequently used interchangeably. These are the types of phone calls that travel over reliable internet connections to convey information between callers and call recipients. They are placed using computers and other internet-enabled devices. Internet calls can help users save a lot of money on their phone bills every month because they offer cheap calling rates and free calls.
How Do VoIP and Internet Calls Compare to Landline and Cell Phone Calls?
VoIP, landlines, and cell phones all use different technologies in making calls. When calling through landlines, the soundwaves from the callers' voices change into electrical energy and are routed along copper wires. These wires connect every landline phone across the world through networks known as Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). Landline phone calls are made to go through telephone exchanges until they reach the call recipients. The speakers on the recipients' devices automatically convert the electrical energy into sound waves and represent the original information passed by the caller.
A cell phone call is transmitted wirelessly from a caller to the call recipient. Cell phones transform callers' voices into electrical signals and are sent out over radio waves. Callers' cell phones beam signals and connect to the nearest cell phone mast, which then transmits calls through local base stations to called parties. Once the radio waves get to the call recipients, they are converted back into sound waves to deliver the initial communication sent out by the callers.
VoIP or internet calls edge out telephone companies since calls are routed over broadband internet connections. During VoIP calls, voices are converted into small data packets (digital signals) and sent over the internet. These signals travel between the calling devices and the callers' VoIP provider, where they are transmitted to the call recipients. To place internet calls, users must have internet-based devices. IP phones are specialized phones used for VoIP calls. They look like regular telephones but connect to wall switches or directly to users' routers or modems. Also, softphones can place VoIP calls. Softphones are software-based telephones available as mobile or desktop applications that give a complete physical phone experience. Note that reverse phone lookup services also work VoIP calls.
VoIP calls have the following advantages over landline and cell phone calls:
VoIP calls are cost-effective, leveraging internet connections, rather than some expensive telephone infrastructures used by regular phone systems. Users only need one network for both data services and voice calls. In fact, persons using VoIP can make domestic and long-distance calls for free.
Since VoIP is cloud-based, users can do more than just voice calls. They can make video calls, and because VoIP can work seamlessly on mobile devices and desk phones, users can always stay connected.
Clear Audio Quality
Provided there are reliable internet connections, VoIP users need not worry about poor voice quality.
VoIP is highly scalable, especially for business owners. With VoIP services, it is easy to add phones to new locations to match up with business expansions. Doing this will not require installing new phone lines as would for regular phone systems.
Does West Virginia Regulate VoIP Providers?
West Virginia does not regulate VoIP providers or internet calls. The Public Service Commission of West Virginia (PSC) regulates other telecommunications utilities but does not have jurisdiction over Voice over Internet Protocol services. The West Virginia Legislature passed legislation in 2017 to prohibit the PSC from exercising authority over VoIP service. Even if a regulated utility provides an internet protocol-enabled service, the PSC cannot exert control over such a service.
What Do You Need for VoIP and Internet Calls?
What you need to place internet calls depends on the type of device you intend to use. However, whichever device or method you choose, a reliable internet connection is needed to make VoIP or internet calls. To have a fantastic VoIP experience, use Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) or Ethernet connections while setting out for VoIP calls.
To use a landline phone for a VoIP call, you need a compatible phone, a VoIP adapter, commonly known as Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA), and a reliable internet connection. The ATA may plug into a router or a wall switch to connect your phone to the internet and get you ready for a call.
To use a computer, get a laptop or a desktop PC and install the appropriate VoIP software such as Skype, Microsoft Teams, and TeamSpeak. For this setup, you will need a microphone and a headset or speakers, and of course, a broadband internet connection. Making a free call to someone with the same software is possible with this method.
If you want to use a mobile device such as a smartphone or a tablet, connect to a reliable internet service. Make sure to install a VoIP application like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or Skype to make a call. You can call someone who uses the same application as you for free. Making a phone call from a VoIP application to regular phones is also possible with this method but sometimes comes at a low cost.
Are VoIP Numbers Different from Regular Phone Numbers?
Although VoIP numbers may look similar to regular phone numbers, there are some marked differences between both. These include:
- The method of call transmission is different. Standard phone numbers travel through copper wires, while VoIP numbers use IP networks such as broadband connections or Local Area Networks (LANs) to make calls.
- Regular phone numbers get allocated to specific locations, while VoIP numbers are assigned to individuals. Users of VoIP numbers can change their locations without necessarily changing phone numbers. They can make calls from those numbers anywhere provided there are internet connections.
- VoIP numbers can be used across multiple devices simultaneously and still function excellently, giving users the luxury of making calls from choice devices.
Can You Make Free Internet Calls?
Software and mobile applications such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Microsoft Teams, and Skype installed on internet-enabled devices can allow you to make free internet calls. You can make such calls using VoIP apps in the following ways:
- App to Phone - You can enjoy a free internet call using an installed application on a mobile device to a regular phone number.
- App to App - Free internet call is possible if the persons you are calling have on their tablets or smartphones the same VoIP application as you.
- PC to PC - You can make a free internet call from your computer to another computer if the call recipient has the same software you are using to place the call.
- PC to phone - Making a free internet call is possible from your computer to a regular phone number.