What are VoIP and Internet Calls?
Kansas Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is any device that enables an instant two-way voice communication originating from or to the user's IP address. In most cases, VoIP services are transmitted over the internet, and they allow individuals to make live calls, not pre-recorded messages. However, VoIP calls could also be transmitted over Local Area Networks (LANs). According to the latest report from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), there are over 777,000 VoIP subscriptions in Kansas as of June 2021.
Voice over Internet Protocol is the same as internet calls. VoIP is also known as internet calling, IP telephony, Voice over a network, and Internet telephony. They all refer to the use of the internet to make calls. VoIP enables residents to make calls on the internet by transmitting voice signals as data to another user’s IP address. VoIP services include phone calls, live chats, video calls, text messages, and any other means of communication that use the internet as the medium of delivery.
In Kansas, there are many VoIP service providers. Some of these third-party providers allow subscribers to call anyone who has a phone number, including local, long-distance, mobile, and international numbers. However, some service providers limit their VoIP calls to only individuals with VoIP numbers, while others allow you to speak with more than one individual at the same time. In Kansas, VoIP also permits users to receive calls originating from the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).
How Do VoIP and Internet Calls Compare to Landline and Cell Phone Calls?
Landlines or Plain Old Telephone Services (POTS) are telephones connected to copper wires. These wires run underground to connect to every other landline phone across the world through POTS networks. A landline makes calls by converting voice into electrical signals transmitted over copper wires and telephone exchanges. These signals are converted back to voice signals immediately they reach the person at the other end of the phone. To make a phone call over a landline, residents do not have to worry about power outages, except the telephone being used is a cordless device.
Cell phones are not attached to wires, and they do not require some underground connection to function. Unlike landlines, cell phones transmit electrical signals over radio waves, and a microchip in the device converts the signal back to sound waves when a receiver takes the call. Cell phones are connected to mast towers, which serve as antennas routing phone calls to their destinations. For this to work, the calls must pass through a local base station before reaching the recipient.
However, scammers may spoof their phone number to display an area code different from where they are calling from. Phone numbers may be verified with a reverse phone lookup application or with the help of a reverse phone number service provider. VoIP calls do not require the regular analog phone line. They use a broadband internet connection instead. VoIP uses the internet to transmit digital signals to the recipient addresses.
VoIP allows individuals to call from their PCs, special IP phones, or mobile phone applications. With IP phones, waves are transformed into digital signals using CODECs, a computer algorithm that can compress or decompress an audio file. VoIP users may also use Softphones and Analog Telephone Adapters (ATAs). Softphones are software-based phones that facilitate telephone services on a computer application that function as hard phones.
VoIP calls offer the following advantages over landlines and cell phones:
- Lower costs: VoIP setup and running costs are lower than the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) or the traditional circuit-switched telephone network. VoIP also allows several additional features like call waiting, call forwarding, and call parking at no cost at all.
- Mobility/Portability: VoIP allows you to place calls on the go. You do not need to be in your office to take calls.
- Higher Scalability: VoIP is an easy and inexpensive way to scale as your business grows. Making additional changes to phone lines does not require copper wiring or on-premise changes.
- Softphone capabilities: VoIP allows you to turn any device into a phone. These include everything from your mobile device to your PC or tablet.
- Business integration: VoIP also makes it easy for your phone system to be integrated with several third-party software and tools such as your sales software, CRM tool, or email marketing software.
- More Options: With VoIP, users have a large number of features to select from. Some of these features include virtual assistant, call analytics, anonymous call rejection, call recording, etc.
Does Kansas Regulate VoIP Providers?
No, Kansas does not regulate VoIP providers. According to article 20 of Kansas State Public Utility Statute, no VoIP service or IP-enabled service shall be subject to the jurisdiction, regulation, supervision, or control by any state agency or any state’s political subdivision. However, VoIP services shall only be subject to the requirements of K.S.A. 66-2008, of Kansas Universal Service Fund (KUSF) and the requirements of the Kansas 911 ACT, K.S.A.2014.
What Do You Need for VoIP and Internet Calls?
To make an internet call, end-users require three things, a strong internet connection, compatible software, and VoIP equipment. A strong internet connection, preferably a fiber-optic network, is important for a seamless VoIP experience. In Kansas, some VoIP providers deliver VoIP equipment to their subscribers for free. VoIP equipment may vary depending on the device the user intends to call with. With an Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA) and a compatible telephone for landline calls, you can make a VoIP call on a landline. End-users may plug the ATA into a wall socket or a router to make VoIP calls.
End users can also make calls using a software program, a microphone, and a working headset. Software programs like Skype, Google Talk, and Apple Facetime enable individuals to communicate over a long distance. However, making a phone call to a regular phone number with your PC may attract extra charges.
Are VoIP Numbers Different from Regular Phone Numbers?
Technically, a VoIP number is also a telephone number, but it is different from our regular phone lines in the following ways:
- VoIP numbers are assigned to individuals, not specific phone lines or devices.
- VoIP numbers can be used on more than one device simultaneously.
- VoIP numbers are not restricted by physical locations.
Can You Make Free Internet Calls?
Residents in Kansas can make free internet calls. All that is required is a PC or phone, a strong internet connection, and the necessary software applications. Internet phone applications support free phone calls in the following ways:
- PC to Phone Applications: individuals can make free internet calls with their PC. You can place a call to a regular phone number, but this requires software that can call a mobile phone.
- App to Phone Software: Residents can call anyone for free using a mobile device. This feature allows you to call any number, including landlines, whether or not they have the app installed on their phone for free.
- PC to PC: Residents can make free calls from one PC to another. Download and install the appropriate software programs, and you can send calls to another individual having the same software program on their PC.
- App to App: Residents may also use apps on their smartphones or tablets to connect with others over the internet. App to App calls is possible when the recipient has a compatible application installed on their phone. In addition to this, both users must have a strong internet connection to make this call.