Term: VOIP [Voice Over Internet Protocol]

VOIP is an acronym for Voice Over Internet Protocol, a technology used to make voice connections mimicking telephone calls over internet connections rather than the traditional telephone network.

Examples of VOIP technologies include Skype and Vonage, although there are many more.

Using VOIP, sound is converted into data packets – similar to tiny little mp3 files – which are transmitted over the public internet to their destination, where they are converted back to audio. Services may additionally encrypt the packets as they travel from source to destination to prevent eavesdropping.

In reality, much of the traditional phone system could be considered “VOIP”, as the backbones of many telephone carriers – both traditional and mobile – are digital. Analog audio is converted to and from digital at the nearest telephone switching center, or, in the case of cellular, in the mobile handset itself.

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