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(Voice Over IP) A digital telephone service that uses the Internet for transport, as well as private IP networks. "IP" stands for "Internet Protocol." In order that calls can originate and terminate from regular telephones, connections to the public telephone network (PSTN) are also provided. Telephone companies, cable companies and dedicated providers offer VoIP calling for a fixed monthly fee or low per-minute charge. Customers must have existing Internet access.

Telephony Protocols: SIP/H.323 and Skype
VoIP uses two telephony protocols for handling connections (see SIP and H.323), and most VoIP systems support both. Skype uses its own protocol (see Skype).

Handset Based
Regular phones can be used with many VoIP services by plugging them into an analog telephone adapter (ATA) from the VoIP provider or third party. The ATA converts the phone signals to IP packets. Native IP phones are also available.

Software Only = Softphone
VoIP may be entirely software based, which uses an app in a mobile device or a computer equipped with microphone and speakers. Typically free if both sides are on devices; calls to a regular telephone are per minute. In 1995, VocalTec Communications introduced the first VoIP service in the U.S.; entirely software based (see softphone). Skype is a very popular softphone-based VoIP service (see Skype). See SIP provider.

VoIP Features
Voicemail, caller ID, call forwarding and a softphone option (if not a softphone-only service) are typically part of a VoIP package. Phone numbers with area codes outside of one's own home area may also be an option (see virtual phone number). See IP telephony for more details and history of the technology.

References in periodicals archive ?
Matthew Hodgson (Technical lead) said: "From today anyone can run their own Matrix server and clients, and developers can use the client API to odd IM and VolP to new or existing apps and access the wider Matrix ecosystem.
CALEA has been expanded by the FCC to include mobile phones and VolP.
Cyril Volp, 76, who has lived in Llanishen for 30 years, described the battle with the company as a "war of attrition" that was in danger of being lost.
Most importantly, viewers can enjoy other advanced media services during their television experience, including VolP (telephone services), messaging, recommendations, voting and IM chat capabilities.
Switch between land lines, mobile calls and VolP, using the Bluetooth headset.
VBVoice is an RAPID APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT TOOL that enables the creation of powerful, speech enabled VolP solutions including voice self-service, unified communications and interactive voice response (IVR) systems.
To ensure network performance and QoS, Stonesoft worked with AIT to route and load balance VolP traffic through StoneGate appliances.
Teaming + Conferencing adds the ability to collaborate via live VolP, Web conferencing or instant messaging, www.
a good headset; prices range from $55 (Plantronics' 3-in-1 VolP headset) to $299 (Jabra GN 9330 wireless headset.
Portable and wall art in the Volp Caves, Montesquieu-Avantes (Ariege).
It works on VolP, allows voice-activated user interface, and is about as close to the Star Trek comm.