This edition of â€œWhat is..?â€ considers VoIP, otherwise known as Internet telephony or IP telephony. VoIP, which stands for â€œVoice over Internet Protocolâ€, refers to the transmission of voice telephone calls over the Internet or any other IP-based network. VoIP systems use packet-switched networks to route and transmit voice calls, rather than the circuit-switching systems used by â€œtraditionalâ€ voice telecommunications services.
This article provides an introduction to VoIP, including how it differs from traditional telephony services, and considers some of the regulatory issues raised by providing voice telephony over the Internet. While today VoIP might appear to be a niche product, it is in fact threatening to change the structure of the telephony industry, and is evidence of convergence between the Internet and telecommunications. (more…)