Traditional Phones Give Way to the Internet

It's been projected that eventually all phone calls will be done using VoIP or voice over Internet protocol. The main driving force behind this change is monetary savings. A look back at how this technology developed provides insights into how VoIP can deliver its service inexpensively. It also shows how the Internet transmits information in general. After the establishing of the Internet, four important events have contributed to VoIP's current popularity.

*Initial technology

*Creation of the World Wide Web

*Introduction of commercial software

*Introduction of analog telephone adapter

Talking on the Internet

Most people assume that VoIP is a fairly recent development in phone technology. In reality, this system of communications is nearly as old as the Internet itself. The Internet began in the late 1960s as a resilient, decentralized means for government and military outposts to stay connected in the event of a nuclear war. Instead of a single direct route between two parties, information would be broken into discreet pieces or packets and sent through multiple channels in case the main route had been severed. By 1973, basic techniques had been developed that allowed speech to be sent through this method. As might be imagined, since a speaker's voice was separated into packets that required reassembling, there was quite a bit of lag time in conversations. Like the Internet itself, this technology was relatively unknown until the creation of the World Wide Web at the beginning of the 1990s.

Going Public

In 1995, shortly after the World Wide Web's introduction, Internet phone service became available. The actual calls could only be done through computers with audio input capabilities. At first, the quality of calls was poor. The software used to divide audio information into packets was relatively unsophisticated. At the same time, Internet speeds were very slow. Another drawback was that the sender and receiver needed the same sound card in their computers for the software to work. It still caught on quickly because of its ow-cost. As a result, this approach already grabbed 1% of the phone market by 1998. Just two years later, this share jumped to 3%.

Turning Mainstream

It was also in 1998 that broadband ethernet was made available for Internet users. This technology, combined with the proven popularity of VoIP calls, prompted several companies to introduce the ATA or analog telephone adapter. The ATA was designed to perform the work normally done by a computer processor so that a conventional phone could be plugged into it while it was plugged into an ethernet port. At this time, specially-made phones were also released that performed the same operations. Since then, both Internet speeds and VoIP software have steadily improved. The cost advantage VoIP is such that even mainstream phone services use it for handling some of the traffic of their regular customers. This means even people who don't directly use VoIP have still unwittingly used VoIP.

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