What is it?
VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. It is a system of using the internet to make phone calls. This can be from computer to computer or from a normal phone handset via a VoIP service provided by an Internet Service Provider. Depending on the service used and the parties involved, this may be free, or for a cost much lower than traditional phone calls. Skype is an example of a VoIP service.
How does it work?
When using VoIP the conversation is converted to digital packets which are sent to the other person and automatically turned back into sound. Ironically, this is the same system used by the phone companies for traditional phone calls. The quality can be excellent, is normally as good as normal phone calls, but can sometimes suffer from missing packets (audio dropouts) or delays and echoes in the sound.
Why is it useful?
VoIP can save you money by using your computer and your internet connection to make phone calls, instead of also paying a phone carrier for a separate phone line and individual phone call costs. It can even be used as a replacement for normal phone calls, though it is not as reliable and is not suitable for some 000 calls as the operator will not know where you are.
What do you need to keep in mind about your child and VoIP?
See the entry on Skype.