We’ve come a long way since the days when phone service was delivered over a simple cable with four copper wires. This older technology is often referred to as POTS, which stands for “plain old telephone service”. Today, internet phone service is rapidly becoming the most common form of telephony. Internet phone service uses a technology called voice over IP, or VoIP, which takes spoken conversation and converts it into a series of digital “packets”. These packets are then sent over the internet, where they are converted back into audio on the other end. VoIP was the key enabling technology for internet phone service.
Internet phone service is much less costly to deploy, which has helped drive its growth. Think about it. With POTS the phone company had to run a physical cable to every home and business. That gets pretty expensive, not just to install, but to maintain over time. It wasn’t just the cable either. There were huge buildings filled with equipment that had to be paid for by somebody (and we know who that was).
Internet phone service has a big cost advantage over POTS by sharing an internet connection with other providers and avoiding all that cabling and equipment. The advantage of internet phone service is even greater for long distance and international calling. Remember when you got billed every month for long distance calls?
In the early days of internet phone service, voice quality wasn’t all that great. It wasn’t unusual to get cut outs or skips in the audio, or to drop the connection entirely. Remember all those little voice packets that VoIP sends over the internet? When internet service was less reliable and had much lower bandwidth, some of those packets would get lost on the way to the other end, or be delayed and arrive in a slightly different order than they were sent.
Advances in VoIP and internet technology have overcome those early problems, and today internet phone service delivers voice quality levels comparable to “CD-quality”. Before LTE and other advances in cell phone technology, those calls used a system similar to the old POTS technology. Now, almost all cell phones use VoIP for calls, so when you’re talking on your cell you’re likely using an internet phone service.
Internet phone service has transformed telephony from an expensive, difficult to implement technology to a low-cost telephony solution in use everywhere.