The steps and principles involved in originating VoIP telephone calls are similar to traditional digital telephony and involve signaling, channel setup, digitization of the analog voice over software free signals, and encoding. Early providers of voice-over-IP services offered business models and technical solutions that mirrored the architecture of the legacy telephone network. Second-generation providers, such as Skype, built closed networks for private user bases, offering the benefit of free calls and convenience while potentially charging for access to other communication networks, such as the PSTN. In addition to VoIP phones, VoIP is also available on many personal computers and other Internet access devices.
Calls and SMS text messages may be sent over mobile data or Wi-Fi. Full words, voice over Internet Protocol, or voice over IP, are sometimes used. Voice over IP has been implemented in various ways using both proprietary protocols and protocols based on open standards. These protocols can be used by a VoIP phone, special-purpose software, a mobile application or integrated into a web page. 323, one of the first VoIP call signaling and control protocols that found widespread implementation.
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Since the development of newer, less complex protocols such as MGCP and SIP, H. 323 deployments are increasingly limited to carrying existing long-haul network traffic. A VoIP phone is necessary to connect to a VoIP service provider. Dedicated VoIP phones connect directly to the IP network using technologies such as wired Ethernet or Wi-Fi.
These are typically designed in the style of traditional digital business telephones. An analog telephone adapter connects to the network and implements the electronics and firmware to operate a conventional analog telephone attached through a modular phone jack. Some residential Internet gateways and cablemodems have this function built in. Softphone application software installed on a networked computer that is equipped with a microphone and speaker, or headset.