What is a VoIP in Arkansas?
VoIP means Voice over Internet Protocol, a form of telephony service that leverages the internet to route phone calls. Arkansans can use private Local Area Networks (LANs) and broadband internet to access VoIP services. At the earlier stages of the development of the internet, computers were connected using telephone lines. The emergence of VoIP is a reversal of that role. The internet is now being used for accessing telephony services via VoIP.
What are VoIP and Internet Calls?
VoIP calls and internet calls are the same and can be used exchangeable. They are a means of accessing telephony services using the internet. VoIP service providers offer subscribers access to every form of multimedia and digital communication over the internet. Bundles that include access to cable and satellite are sold to VoIP subscribers, alongside access to full digital telephony.
How Do VoIP and Internet Calls Compare to Landline and Cell Phone Calls?
Landlines, the earliest telephone service, emerged in the late 19th century. Landlines calls convert sound waves to electrical signals. These signals travel through copper wires to exchange offices from where they are transmitted to the call recipient’s phone. At the recipient’s end, these signals are converted back to sound waves. Traditional landlines have been around for decades and offer reliability. They are hardly affected by power outages or adverse weather conditions. However, stale analog technology does not give landlines much room to integrate modern technology.
Just like landlines, cell phones transform sound waves into electrical signals. However, they are not routed via copper wires since cell phones are cordless. Instead, the electrical signals are transmitted via radio waves emitted by network masts. When you place a phone call, the signals are beamed unto the nearest mast. The mast then routes the phone call through a local base station and then delivers it to the call recipient. Upon getting to the called party, the signals are converted back to sound waves for listening pleasure. Cell phone calls use a grid box pattern to prevent interference of different phone calls with each other. Cell phone calls made within any cell that makes up the grid are beamed to the mast in that cell for onward transmission to the recipients. The voice quality offered by cell phone calls depends on the strength of the cellular coverage in any location. Areas with low or no network coverage are usually bad for cell phone calls.
VoIP and internet calls differ from cell phones and landlines. Sound waves are transformed into digital signals when making VoIP calls instead of electric signals. Computer algorithms called “Codecs” convert sound waves to digital signals and then back to sound waves. The digital signals are transmitted over the internet to the call recipient. You can make VoIP calls on many internet-enabled devices such as traditional landlines (fitted with adapters), smartphones, and computers. Some VoIP software, known as softphones installed on these devices, allows subscribers to use them as if operating regular telephones.
VoIP calls offer the following advantages:
- Cost-effectiveness: Making calls on VoIP is ultimately cheaper than the cell phone or landline calls. VoIP offers many add-on features for a lesser amount compared to conventional telephone systems.
- Mobility: VoIP only needs internet coverage to connect phone calls. Users can make phone calls from anywhere provided internet service is available.
- Flexibility: VoIP gives users the option of making phone calls from different devices. A single VoIP number can be used on multiple devices simultaneously.
- Voice quality: The voice quality offered by VoIP calls is excellent compared to cell phone and landline calls. However, this depends on your internet connection. A reliable internet connection promises remarkable voice quality.
- Number portability: It is easy to switch VoIP numbers or add extra lines without technicians having to come to install new hardware.
Does Arkansas Regulate VoIP Providers?
The Arkansas Public Service Commission (PUC) does not have the power to regulate VoIP service providers. Section 23-17-411(f)(2) of the Arkansas Code exempts providers that offer services like e-mails, voicemails, and internet from those regulated by the PUC. It is believed that market forces and competition among service providers will promote quality services.
What Do You Need for VoIP and Internet Calls?
The primary requirement for VoIP and internet calls is reliable internet. The stronger the internet connection, the better the call experience. Experts advise the use of Fibre To The Premises (FTTP) or Ethernet connections to enjoy the best of VoIP calls. Other requirements depend on the device you want to use for making calls.
Landlines: You need an Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA) to make a VoIP call on a landline. The adapter connects your analog telephone to the internet and can either plug into a router or a wall socket.
Computer: To make VoIP calls with your computer, an internet connection, and a headset plugged into the audio jack is all that is required. The headset must have a microphone that sends sound waves from your end to the recipient, and you can also listen to messages through the headset. Softphones like Skype, Facetime, and Google Hangout offer free VoIP calls if you and the called party use the same application. Phone calls to regular numbers incur extra but minimal charges.
Smartphones and Tablets: You can use smartphones and tablets for VoIP calls. Connect to the Wi-Fi, install the right application, and start an internet call. Applications such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Skype lets you make free calls.
Are VoIP Numbers Different from Regular Phone Numbers?
VoIP numbers are real telephone numbers and have the same structure as conventional phone numbers. The differences between regular phone numbers and VoIP numbers are:
- VoIP numbers are not assigned to users’ devices. Instead, providers allocate them to subscribers, who can then use a single number across multiple devices concurrently.
- VoIP numbers will function anywhere there is an internet connection. Users do not have to be in the same location as their service providers before making or receiving internet calls.
- When choosing VoIP numbers, subscribers do not have to adopt numbers that bear the area codes of their physical location. They can select any area code of their choice. Regular phone numbers assume the area code of the NPA in which they are registered.
Note that phone lookup search can be conducted on VoIP numbers. With reverse phone number search, you can retrieve information on VoIP numbers users.
Can You Make Free Internet Calls?
Yes, you can make free internet calls provided you have installed on your device applications that allow free calls. With such apps, you can make free calls from:
- PC to Phone: Some apps allow free internet calls from PC to regular phone numbers. Google Voice is one such app.
- PC to PC: Subscribers with the same apps installed on their computers can make free internet calls to each other.
- App to Phone: Some Apps allow free calls to regular phone numbers.
- App to App: With the same apps installed on your smartphone or tablet, subscribers can exchange free internet calls.