VoIP Basics Part 2: Packet vs. Analog

  • With VoIP technology, voice signals are assembled into digital packets.

  • It runs on an Internet packet-switched network.

  • Calls have better quality and completion rates, leaving room for data on the network.

Sometimes what you hear isn’t what you get. What do I mean by that?

In my last post, I talked a little about POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service), which uses a different protocol than most voice services today. POTS is analog, a protocol that is native to what you might actually hear when talking to someone in the same room. While that sounds like a good thing, it is actually a problem for networks that speak in packets or bits and bytes.

These networks traditionally would take an analog signal, convert it into packets, send it through the network, and then convert it back to analog on the other end. The problem with that system is that you have to convert something into a different protocol and back, which can take time or even corrupt some of the data. Remember those old long distance calls and how there were delays and feedback from the other end? VoIP technology converts traditional telephony services into computer-enabled networks by using packet-switched protocols, one of the languages the network already uses.

More information for better communication

With VoIP technology, voice signals are assembled into digital IP packets that have the caller’s and receiver’s network addresses prior to being sent out over the Internet. The packets let the network know where the data came from and where it is going. Because VoIP uses IP packets, more information can be carried over the network to support and enhance your communication needs when compared to traditional telephony methods.

VoIP runs on an Internet packet-switched network, incorporating multiple routes or paths, allowing a lot of packets to travel many of the available Internet routes, continuously finding the path of least resistance. If one path is down or blocked, that packet can simply switch to another working route to keep the call functioning. With multiple packets traveling a wide variety of different paths, efficiency is incorporated and communication success is virtually guaranteed. At the final destination, all of the IP packets are reassembled completing the activity.

Improved quality and speed

What does this mean to you? By using VoIP, your calls have better quality. They get completed more often than with analog, because they are already using a language the network uses. Perhaps most important, they travel the network faster, which not only allows for better quality calls, but also leaves room for data on the same network.

Next up? Part 3 of my series on VoIP: Voice and Data Working Together

Learn more about VoIP services from AT&T.

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