What is VoIP in Alaska?
VoIP means Voice over Internet Protocol. It is a technology that supports the delivery of telephony services using IP networks. Typical examples of IP networks include broadband internet connections and Local Area Networks (LANs).
What are VoIP and Internet Calls?
VoIP and Internet calls are different words that have the same meaning. They both rely on high-speed internet connections to transmit voice data in telephony. VoIP routes data from voice calls as digital packets over Internet Protocol (IP) networks and delivers them to called parties as voice data. This is in contrast with traditional calls that use the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) to connect end-users.
How Do VoIP and Internet Calls Compare to Landline and Cell Phone Calls?
Landlines make voice calls by converting sound waves into electric signals and use a pair of copper wires to route them through telephone exchanges. When these signals reach their destination, they are changed back into sound waves.
Cell phones transmit voice calls by converting sound waves into electrical signals and, instead of copper wires, use radio waves to convey electrical signals to call recipients. The electrical signals are reconverted into sound waves at the called parties’ ends and are recognized as distinct callers’ voices. Base stations provide connections between mobile phones and the broader wireless network to deliver cell phone calls to their various destinations. Base stations house towers, which are massive fixed antennas that generate the radio waves on which electric signals travel. They reutilize a particular band of radio frequencies to increase the call volume of each mast and conserve the radio bandwidth. A mast only routes electric signals from a fixed number of cellphones within a unique grid pattern or cell. Grid patterns are small geographical regions that constitute a service coverage area.
VoIP converts sound waves into digital signals and conveys them as data packets over the internet. It uses specialized phones called IP telephones and softphones to place phone calls. IP phones convert sound waves into digital signals using CODECS, a form of computer algorithms. Softphones, however, are installed on internet-enabled devices such as computers and mobile gadgets to facilitate VoIP calls.
VoIP calls offer the following benefits over landlines and cell phone calls:
- Choice of area codes: VoIP providers allow users to select area codes of their choice irrespective of their physical location. Traditional phone systems assign area codes based on registration location.
- Cost-effective: VoIP systems offer lower setup and maintenance costs than traditional phone systems regardless of the number of lines or users. Users can make long-distance calls for free or at relatively low rates.
- Flexibility: A VoIP user can have several mobile devices in different locations for a single VoIP number. A Shared Call Appearance (SCA) service enables this feature for VoIP systems and makes it possible for a user to make or receive calls from any of these devices.
- Mobility: VoIP users are not restricted by physical locations to place VoIP calls. They can use VoIP services at any time and place, provided there are reliable internet connections.
- Scalability: VoIP service permits users to add or remove users and lines by adjusting the available bandwidth. This helps them to keep a preferred number of phone connections, avoid redundancy, and pay only for what is needed.
Reverse phone number lookup services can uncover the names and identities of users of VoIP numbers.
Does Alaska Regulate VoIP Providers?
The Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) does not regulate VoIP providers and other internet-based telephony services in the state. However, the RCA mandates interconnected VoIP providers, which exchange calls with the PSTN, to contribute to the Alaska Universal Service Funds (AUSF). They also instruct VoIP and cable providers to contribute to the E911 services and services for the deaf and those hard of hearing (TRS).
What Do You Need for VoIP and Internet Calls?
An internet connection is a primary requirement for placing or receiving VoIP calls. You can use Ethernet connections or a full Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) to have an excellent VoIP call experience. Other internet call requirements depend on your VoIP call preferences.
To place an internet call using a landline, you will need an analog-to-digital converter known as an Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA) and a compatible telephone. An ATA plugs into a wall phone socket or router to connect the landline phone to the internet and lets you make a VoIP call.
To make VoIP calls on a computer, install a suitable VoIP software such as Skype, Google Talk, or Viber on either a laptop or desktop. A microphone and a headset or speaker is also required. These will get you ready for free internet calls with others who have the same software installed on their computers. However, VoIP calls made to regular telephone numbers attract some fees, although relatively low.
To make VoIP calls on a mobile device, install your preferred VoIP application on either a smartphone or tablet. You can install apps like Whatsapp, Viber, and Skype to make free internet calls to other users who have the same app as you. Calls to regular numbers may come at minimal costs, however.
Are VoIP Numbers Different from Regular Phone Numbers?
VoIP numbers are identical to traditional telephone numbers and function in the same ways. They are a set of 10-digit numbers that facilitate the exchange of phone calls between users and different devices. The following differences, however, exist between them:
- VoIP providers allocate numbers to individuals, unlike regular phone numbers. Traditional telephone systems typically assign phone numbers to specific devices such as phone lines, cell phones, and SIM cards.
- VoIP numbers have no geographical limitation. Users can make phone calls anywhere as long as there are internet connections. Regular phone number owners will need to roam their numbers to place or receive calls when they are outside their providers’ network coverage.
- It is possible to share a VoIP number across several internet-enabled devices, while a regular phone number is limited to a single device.
Can You Make Free Internet Calls?
Yes. Making free internet calls is possible, provided you have the requirements. Most vital of them is a reliable internet connection. You can make free internet call in the following way:
- PC to PC: The same VoIP software installed on two different computers allows their users to make free VoIP calls.
- PC to Phone: You can make free internet calls using an appropriate VoIP software on your computer to regular phone numbers.
- App to Phone: This lets you make free VoIP calls from applications on your mobile device to actual telephone numbers.
- App to App: Internet calls between mobile device users who have installed the same VoIP application is possible and is free.