What is VoIP and Voipfone and how does it work?

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Voipfone is a modern telephone service that allows you to make free, or very low cost, telephone calls over the Internet to any telephone in the world regardless of what equipment or network the person you are calling uses.

Also, because it uses computer and internet based, digital, technologies we have been able to build in many new features and services that were previously impossible or very expensive.

This means that whether you are a residential customer wishing to make cheap or free calls to your family overseas or a business needing sophisticated facilities that were previously only available from a very expensive PBX, you'll find that we offer a service that works for you at a very competitive price

How does it work?
Your voice is converted into digital information which can be sent like any other data over the internet. The technology used is called Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP. Sometimes it is referred to as Voice over Networks or (VoN) and sometimes Internet Telephony.

This is all very complicated isn't it?
Well yes, it can seem that way at first, but it needn't be.

One of the great strengths of Internet Telephone networks is that they can do so much more than ordinary telephone networks. In practise Voipfone's services can be as simple as making an ordinary telephone call or as complicated as using a large business switchboard in several countries. We find that most customers start with the simple services and progress to the more sophisticated as they learn more.

Where can I get more detailed information about VoIP?

The wiki for VoIP is here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voip

There is a technical, but still readable, description of how VoIP works here:

http://www.voip-voice-over-ip.com/

And a guide, written for the 'For Dummies' series, here:

http://www.psu.uk.com/downloads/VoIP_for_Dummies.pdf

Who can I call with Voipfone?
You can call anyone with a normal landline or mobile phone anywhere in the world. If the person you are calling is a Voipfone customer or a customer of one of our partner networks (see below), the call is free - no matter where you both are in the world.
If they have an ordinary telephone or mobile you can still call them and the call will always cost a lot less than using your ordinary landline.

What kind of equipment do I Need?
There are lots of ways to use Internet Telephony but the three most common ways of using Voipfone's Services are:

1 By using your PC with Voipfone's free software which turns it into a fully featured telephone. This method requires a broadband internet connection and a reasonably modern PC or laptop with either a microphone and loud speakers or a headset.

2 With your ordinary telephone. You use an adapter (an Analogue Telephone Adapter - ATA) which plugs into your router. (A router is device used to make a Local Area Network (LAN) in your home or office so that more than one PC can connect to the internet or so that several PCs can talk to each other). One end of the adapter plugs into your Local Area Network connection and the other into your existing telephone.

You can find the adapters we recommend here https://www.voipfone.co.uk/shop.php

3 With an internet telephone. A number of new VoIP (or SIP) phones are now available which plug into your Local Area Network and give you the advantage of many new built in features.

You can find the ones we recommend here https://www.voipfone.co.uk/shop.php

One thing to note about SIP phones and adapters is that, unlike ordinary telephones, they are mobile. You can pack your phone or adapter in your suitcase wherever you go and, so long as you can plug them into a broadband connection, they will work anywhere in the world. Not only will they work but your telephone number goes with you too so you don't need to tell everyone you've gone away and they don't need to know a new number or pay an international call charge to reach you.

There are no additional charges for this.

If you have Voipfone's softphone installed on your laptop you can use that anywhere you have an internet connection too - even in a WiFi HotSpot!

What does it sound like? Is it as good as an ordinary phone call?
If you were called by someone using Voipfone it's unlikely they would notice any difference from an ordinary telephone call; but much depends on what you use to make the call. To achieve the very best quality:

Use a reputable service provider with a good network and the best call routing. Not surprisingly, we think that means Voipfone!

Use a good quality broadband service provider.

If you use a router and share the connection with other users, configure Quality of Service (QoS) so that Voice gets priority over other data. (See your router's manual for instructions).

You will find that that a purpose built SIP telephone provides the very best sound quality (normally much better than an ordinary telephone) as calls between SIP phones over a good network provide CD quality sound).

Softphones work well but we don't really recommend them for heavy business use - they are however free, so you can try them without commitment.

How can I make a Voipfone call from my VoIP phone?
If you have purchased a new SIP phone or an adapter for your ordinary telephone, just pick up your phone and dial the number in the same way as you always have.

If you're using Voipfone's free Softphone on your PC, you type in the number you wish to dial from your keyboard, or use the onscreen virtual dial, then press the green telephone button.

If you live in the UK and are dialling a UK number you need to use the full national number even if you are making a local call - just as you do with your mobile phone. (As you learn more, you will find that your VoIP telephone has a lot of sophisticated, configurable features; one of which is the ability to tell it when it doesn't need to use a full dial code).

Of course, if you are using one of the new VoIP (or SIP) telephones you can programme in short dial codes to your favourite numbers.

Who can call me?
Voipfone gives you a free incoming telephone number so anyone can call you - either another VoIP user or any ordinary or mobile telephone anywhere. They simply dial your number and your Voipfone will ring just like any other phone.

(Of course, if you use Voipfone's softphone on your PC, it will need to be switched on to ring!)

Can I call other VoIP Networks?
Voipfone supports open networks and will partner (it's called peering) with any VoIP provider who wishes to. (The main exceptions are Vonage and Skype who currently run closed networks).

Just like calls between Voipfone customers, call between partner networks are totally free

Is my number safe with Voipfone?

Yes.

Voipfone's numbers are issued by Ofcom in the normal way and are exactly like all other UK telephone numbers.

However, because VoIP doesn't care where you are, you can take your number anywhere - even geographic numbers (like 0207 or 01273 etc) can move with you wherever you go; even to other countries.

Voipfone is a also a founder member of ITSPA, the Internet Telephone Service Provider's Association. ITSPA has about 70 members including BT, Orange, Tesco, Google and Vonage and all members have agreed to the ITSPA code of practice on number porting. This means that if you, the customer, want to move your number to another provider you can and, if your provider ceases to trade, your number can be transferred to another provider - usually without interruption of service.
_________________
Regards,

Voipfone Customer Services

iNet Telecoms Ltd (Voipfone)
Sovereign House
227 Marsh Wall
London
E14 9SD
United Kingdom

Registered number: 05168033
Vat Registration Number 858850966

Telephone: 020 7043 5555
Fax: 020 7043 5556

Web: http://www.voipfone.co.uk
Blog: http://www.voipfoneblog.co.uk
Forum: http://www.voipfoneuserforum.co.uk
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/voipfone

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