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Voipfone - What Is VoIP?

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. Sometimes it's referred to as Voice over Networks or (VoN), Voice over Broadband (VoB) and sometimes Internet Telephony. VoIP allows you to make free, or very low cost, telephone calls over the Internet. You can call any telephone in the world and any telephone can call you - regardless of what equipment or network the person you are calling uses.

Also, because VoIP uses, digital, internet technologies (sip) many new features and services that were previously impossible, or very expensive using traditional telephone technology, become available. With Voipfone this means we can give you many free features such as voicemail, voicemails sent to you email, music on hold, call diverts etc. Click here to see our full feature list.

But you don't need to know anything about the technologies used if you don't want to, after all, you probably don't know that ordinary telephony uses TDM (Time Division Multiplexing) but your telephone still works.

How Does It work?

Your voice is converted into digital information which can be sent like any other data over the internet. People are often confused by this but the way to think about it is that your internet connection uses the same wires as your normal landline telephone and can be uses to transmit all kinds of things such as faxes, telephone calls, emails, instant messages, web pages and Google searches - what makes the difference is simply what is plugged into the wires.

Before we get too far into the technology, we need to squash a myth. People tend to think that VoIP is about cheap calls - and it's true that VoIP calls are cheap - but the real benefit of VoIP is that calls can be totally free and that all sorts of new services become possible with them.

Calls can be free not because we're a charity but because you've already paid for them in your monthly broadband subscription. When you make a call over the internet your voice is converted to data and sent like any other piece of data down your internet connection; just like web surfing and email; you don't have to pay again to use it. So, if you call another Voipfone user anywhere in the world, it's a free call - you only pay if you call an old fashioned telephone network.

VoIP Telephones & Adapters

VoIP Telephones & Adapters

All our VoIP telephones and adapters are pre-configured with UK ring and dial tones, our own optimum network settings and your user account details - so you should be able to just plug them into your home or office network and and start making calls straight away.

Once installed, all our equipment is auto-provisioned; this means that we can remotely adjust its setting to keep it up to date or perform remote diagnosis and maintenance if required; this ensures that your hardware is running at its best all the time.

Unlike some service providers who lock their telephones and adapters, you can change our configuration if you wish and it will work with other providers.

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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 Technical Information About VoIP?

Click here to view a document written by ITSPA (the Internet Telephony Service Provider's Association) about how to plan and manage a new VoIP system for your business.

Click here to view the wiki for VoIP.

Click here to get a guide, written for the 'For Dummies' series.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Make a VoIP Call?

Normally you just to pick up your phone and dial the number! The most primitive form of VoIP uses your PC as a telephone and we provide you with a software telephone - a softphone - to do this. This displays a model of a telephone on your screen and you simply type the number to be dialled in or click on the phone's directory to dial the number.

You can either use your PCs speakers and microphone of use a simple headset to talk.

For business use though, most people use purpose built VoIP telephones or telephone adapters with ordinary telephones plugged in. Apart from the obvious benefits of convenience to use and quality of call this method means that your telephones work even when your PC is switched off.

You can see some example of VoIP telephones and adapters here.

What Kind of Equipment Do I Need?

A broadband (high speed Internet) connection is required for most, but not all, of our services. This can be through a cable modem such as NTL/Virgin, or services such as ADSL.

To make phone calls you then either use a softphone on your PC or laptop (see above) or a purpose built VoIP telephone or telephone adapter.

If I Use a VoIP Service Who Can I Call?

You can call anyone, anywhere on any type of telephone or network. The receiver of the call needs to have no special equipment and won't know what kind of call he is receiving. However, if the person receiving your call is another Voipfone customer the call will be free - no matter where he is located in the world.

Does It Sound as Good as an Ordinary Telephone Call?

Normally the call will sound identical to an ordinary telephone call - you won't be able to tell the difference. If your call is to another Voipfone customer and you are both using Voipfone and VoIP telephones the call quality is much better than an ordinary call - this is because it is transmitted digitally end to end at 64kbs - ie radio quality sound.

Can I Use My Computer While I Talk on the Phone?

Yes.

Can I Take My Telephone or Phone Adapter With Me When I Travel?

You can use your VoIP telephone service wherever you travel as long as you have access to a high speed Internet connection. In that case it would work exactly the same as from your home or business.

Does My Computer Have to Be Turned On?

Not if you are making calls with a VoIP telephone or a VoIP telephone adapter, but your broadband Internet connection needs to be active. You can also use your computer while talking on the phone.

How Do I Know If I Have a VoIP Phone Call?

It will ring like any other call.

Got a Question?

New technology can seem confusing at first, but don't worry, we are here to help!

Contact Customer Services

Got a Question?

You can speak to one of our Customer Service representatives by calling our dedicated Customer service line on 020 7043 5555 and we will be happy to answer any questions you have.

Configure Services

Log in to your online control panel to configure your services. With Voipfone's online control panel you can manage your account in real time, from your PC anywhere in the world.

Signup

You can try our service for FREE - without risk or commitment. Firstly, we'll give you a free incoming 056 telephone number so that people can call you from ordinary telephones.