Background Telephony Information

Approximately 140 years ago marked the advent of the telephone era.  Up until then, the only option that people had to communicate distances was via the use of telegraph services.  The first coast-to-coast long distance telephone call occurred 40 years afterwards, between Alexander Bell in New York and Thomas Watson in San Francisco.

The 1990’s marked the launch of the internet age for the general population.  Although not all households subscribed to internet at that time, it wasn’t until the early 2000’s that most households saw the benefits and got on-board.

Telecom software labs saw the value of placing packets of voice information within the internet data stream and started their development on Voice over IP (VoIP) in the late 20st Century; however, progress was excelled when high-speed broadband was considered mainstream, in the early 2000’s.  Japan and South Korea were the first countries that started to roll out VoIP services to subscribers in 2005; however, there were some teething pains such as experiencing echo, delay and dropping calls (for the most part).  These initial negative experiences were due to the infancy of VoIP telephony and customers subscribing to internet service bandwidth that could not accommodate voice and data over the same internet connection.  Within the past 10 years, home internet service has improved bandwidth offerings and VoIP technology standards are always in a state of achieving perfection.

There is no argument that audio quality on standard landline services (such as that which is offered by your local telephone company) is superior to that which is offered by any VoIP company, just as WAV files are of a much higher quality standard than MP3:  It is difficult to tell the difference.  Landline services have been in existence since the dawn of the 20st Century whereas VoIP has entered the telecommunications realm almost 100 years later.  That being said, great strides have made in VoIP technology by product manufacturers as well as standards by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)

What is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)?

When internet was introduced, everyone associated it with e-mail, and information:  In other words, the flow of data.

Engineers and software designers reasoned that if audio were to be ‘broken down’ into units of data (called “packets”); it too could be transmitted over the internet.

When transmitting data over the internet, we’ve all experienced delays in opening e-mail attachments or updating info from a website.  These delays are frustrating but are tolerable; whereas, delays with voice packets are infuriating and are not tolerable.

For the most part, delays in data transmission could be alleviated by increasing bandwidth of your internet connection; however, where there’s conflicting priorities between voice and data over a mid-range bandwidth connection, the subscriber will likely encounter degradation in audio quality.  If the subscriber has a router that allows “Quality of Service” (QoS), which places a higher priority of voice over regular data packets, improvements to audio quality will be immediately evident.  Most modern-day routers will be equipped to allow QoS.  If purchasing a new router, make sure to check the specifications.

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Kyle Warwick-Mathieu

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