VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) has been around a little longer than most people think. However, it is only in the last few years we have seen an explosion in VOIP use by the general population. It is only now we are seeing business phone systems that integrate VOIP and standard calling that are economically viable for small and medium-sized businesses. Here is a short look at how VOIP started, and how it rapidly became the best and cheapest way to make calls, and a whole lot more in the last few years.
- The Beginning. VOIP technology actually started in 1995. A small company Vocaltec released the first personal computer phone. It was called the internet phone at that time. It worked much the same as VOIP technology today. It was the Skype of the time. The problem was the lack of internet speed.
- Growth of VOIP. By the end of the 90s and the beginning of the 21st century, a number of entrepreneurs realized the importance of VOIP, and we saw a number of companies replicating the original software, and VOIP became more user friendly, and was available free software applications. There was still one major drawback, and that was internet speed.
- Broadband. By the 2005, we had already seen an explosion in the availability of high-speed internet around the world. Without broadband, and cheap access to it, VOIP was useless. Calls could now be clear and unbroken. It was the lack of high-speed internet that was holding VOIP back, and why it had a poor reputation in the beginning. It was not the VOIP technology itself.
- Skype Launched. Skype was launched in 2003, and this company was to take VOIP to the general consumers. They originally targeted business users. Skype used different technology. They chose to use Peer-to-Peer technology. Instead of having a service provider, each user becomes a part of the technology and improves the network. This meant as more people used Skype, the network improved. Skype proved very popular and became widely used around the world. In 2011, it has over 600 million users, was purchased by Microsoft, and it is expected to be built into the release of the Windows 8 operating system.
- The Future. Skype and other VOIP calls continue to make up a larger percentage of international calls made every year. There are hundreds of VOIP calling and video calling applications available for free download. VOIP services already include calling to non-VOIP telephone numbers and devices.
While we did see improvements with internet speeds, it is only in the last few years that we have seen drastic falls in the price of broadband around the world. These speeds continue to improve, and this is the real reason behind why VOIP is possible, and why VOIP is being widely used. VOIP calls are generally of high-quality, and video calling is possible with high-quality images and video.