The rise of various technologies has made it easier to stay connected and speak with friends, family and colleagues around the world. Traditional landline phones eventually gave way to mobile phones and wireless technologies that have made long-distance calls and video chats more affordable. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) offers speed and convenience for many, in particular when it can be done using a user’s mobile phone. Many such calls are free as long as users are sharing the same VoIP service, and quality is remarkably good these days. Those who have never heard of VoIP phones may be surprised in that they may have already used the technology when making a Skype call to a family member. Read more to learn about the history of VoIP phones and how consumers may or may not benefit from the technology.
Cheaper Communications with VoIP Communications
VoIP communications began in 1995 with VocalTec’s InternetPhone. Both users had to use the same software and no video communications were available. By the late 1990s, the transfer of IP-based packages of data became more appealing for three reasons: lower cost, better quality and speed. It was faster and cheaper to make voice calls using VoIP technology, and soon software was developed which added a VoIP adaptor into phones.
Many changes have occurred since then — including the rise of Skype and improvements in WiFi capabilities — which have made it easier and cheaper for people to communicate across the world. VoIP has been adopted by individuals and large organizations due to the affordability of the flat-rate fees offered by providers. Conference calls with multiple individuals, as well as video chats, can be performed over a reliable channel. This may be a case where cheaper is better for the consumer.
Are VoIP Phones Draining Data?
That being said, regular VoIP usage may cut into a consumer’s data plan. The majority of data usage calendars do not provide data on VoIP data usage, and data usage on a smartphone can differ. While some calls are free, such as international calls where the recipient has the same VoIP service and free local calls through a service, there are others that may have different requirements. VoIP services use different codecs (a device or program which compresses and decompresses data to enable faster transmission), and the codecs can affect the value for data consumption. It is possible to determine how many megabytes are consumed in a phone call. Many VoIP services used the G.729 codec which requires 32 kilobits per second. Using this codec, a one-hour VoIP call uses an estimated 45 MB. Depending on how often a user makes or receives VoIP calls, this can cut into an individual’s data plan, but so can downloading MP3 files or streaming a video. One wireless data calculator estimates that almost 2GB will be consumed over 30 days by streaming an hour of music daily. A Verizon user may use approximately 1.5GB watching an hour-long YouTube video. There are a number of variables that can impact data usage, but changing data usage settings or switching to WiFi can reduce data consumption for a specific activity.
The Future of VoIP Data Consumption
The use of the technology has grown extensively since its conception. Even if VoIP calls consume a significant amount of data, depending on a range of factors, it does not seem likely that mobile users will curtail their calls or video chats. However, as the technology continues to evolve, VoIP user behavior may also change.
At PS LIGHTWAVE with our VoIP solutions, your company is able to streamline operations. Now you can connect geographically dispersed employees and devices on one unified phone system. Please contact us for more details, and someone from our team will be happy to assist you. We offer the very best in connectivity, reliability, scalability and redundancy.