VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. As the term says VoIP is the transmission of voice communication through IP packets and, therefore, through the Internet. VoIP can use accelerating hardware to achieve this purpose and can also be used in a PC environment.
Webopedia defines it as: A category of hardware and software that enables people to use the Internet as the transmission medium for telephone calls. For users who have free, or fixed-price Internet access, Internet telephony software essentially provides free telephone calls anywhere in the world.
Early on it was determined that it was possible to send a voice signal to a remote destination digitally, as well as via analog. To do that, we have to digitize it with an ADC (analog to digital converter), transmit it, and at the end transform it again in analog format with DAC (digital to analog converter) to use it.
This is basically the way VoIP works, sending voice information in digital form in discrete packets rather than in the traditional circuit-committed protocols of the public switched telephone network (PSTN). A major advantage of VoIP and Internet telephony is that it avoids the tolls charged by ordinary telephone service.
The answer is many. In a perfect world where everyone has VoIP phones we would no longer have to pay any phone company to make calls. All calls would just route directly across the internet to the party we are calling very similar to email. The reality is getting there is a process and today the majority of people still have standard phone service and to call them we need to interface face with what is refered to as the (PSTN) in short it's the network of standrad phone service out there. Companies called (ITSP) Internet Telephony Service Providers have cropped up to perform this function.
VoIP calls through ITSP generally run 50% or more cheaper than traditional long distance rates. It is also more nimble that standard wired service. Allowing great portability of telephone devices without any disruption of service.
In order to use the services you can use the ELC router connected to your cable or DSL Modem an internet connection, and your Telephone connected to the ELC Router. that's all you need:
A high-speed internet connection. This can be a cable modem, or a super high-speed services such as ISDN, DSL or a T-1 link. The link you choose will depend upon the amount of telephone traffic you intend to use. A typical DSL link, for instance, is enough for eight simultaneous phone calls.
A VoIP Machine-This can be an ELC ATA Router. If this is for home use and you just want to simulate a standard telephone ATA's allow you to convert the VoIP to the language of your standard phone (analog).
An account with Endlesscalls™. Your account can be configured to recognize your calls automatically, or you can require your users to enter their unique account numbers, issued by you.