What is VoIP?

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), is a technology that allows you to make voice calls using a broadband Internet connection  instead of a regular (or analog) phone line. This is a beneficial, cost-saving resource because your business already has a broadband Internet connection. Having your phone calls routed through the same connection as your data service eliminates the expensive, confusing analog phone lines provided by the traditional local telephone company.

How VoIP (Voice Over IP) Works

VoIP services convert your voice into a digital signal that travels over the Internet. If you are calling a regular phone number, the signal is converted to a regular telephone signal before it reaches the destination. VoIP can allow you to make a call directly from a computer, a special VoIP phone, or a traditional phone connected to a special adapter. In addition, wireless “hot spots” in locations such as airports, parks, and cafes allow you to connect to the Internet and may enable you to use VoIP service wirelessly.

What Kind of Equipment Do I Need?

A broadband (high speed Internet) connection is required. This can be through a cable modem, or high speed services such as DSL, T1 circuit, or a local area network. A computer, adaptor, or specialized phone is required. Special VoIP phones plug directly into your broadband connection and operate largely like a traditional telephone. You’ll be able to dial just as you always have.

Is there a difference between making a Local Call and a Long Distance Call?

Most VoIP providers permit you to call locally at no charge. Regarding long distance calls, it is common for VoIP providers to bundle a large quantity of long distance minutes at a flat rate for calls outside your calling area.

Source: http://transition.fcc.gov/voip