What is VoIP?

Technology continues to shift gears into the future and with these changes comes new technological advancements. The use of VoIP can allow users who do not have a cellular connection to make voice communications calls during Internet Protocols.

November 20, 2020Author: Henry Kenyon


Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the set of standards/technology that allows for the delivery of telephone calls or other vocal communications over the internet. VoIP was invented in 1995 to help save money on long distance and international telecommunication charges. It was founded by the company, VocalTech, who created the first widely used Internet phone. The service started out to be very limited and there were not many services available besides one-on-one phone calls. The service has evolved greatly since its release with the addition of voicemails, group calls, and much more, as well as becoming much more accessible and free to a wider population globally.

How Does it Work?

VoIP translates your voice into a digital signal that travels over the internet. VoIP can allow you to make phone calls on computers and other electronic devices. This cross-platform compatibility is unique because phone calls are typically only made on telecommunication devices such as smartphones, landlines, and satellite phones over a cellular network, but the accessibility on wireless networks allows more devices to stay connected.


One of the main reasons that VoIP was invented was to save money for users and businesses, as displayed in the graph below from FinancesOnline (2020). This diagram reports information that shows how phone communications were utilized throughout 2019 and the way that users and businesses can save a lot of money on international, operational, and local calls through using VoIP. According to the diagram, a user can save up to 30% on their phone bill and up to 90% on international calls, while 65% of businesses also take advantage of and favour VoIP for their conference calls. To read more about the rest of the benefits and statistics of using VoIP, you can read the article by FinancesOnline, which is cited below.

Where Can it Be Beneficial?

If a user is in a “dead zone” and cannot receive cell signal, it could be beneficial for them to make use of “Wi-Fi calling” as an alternative. Wi-Fi calling is a new function that cell phone providers are incorporating into cell phones that allows for a user to make phone calls using Wi-Fi when cellular service is not available. This could be beneficial when users need to make phone calls from a basement, a remote region, a mountain, or elsewhere that cell service is not reachable to strengthen the quality of a phone call.

911 Function

A telecommunal function that is important to people is the ability to communicate with 911, regardless of their cellular signal. Now, with VoIP, it is possible for people to access 911 and other emergency numbers with the help of “Wi-Fi calling.” It is important to note that, while service providers are able to offer 911 calling over VoIP, it is essential to remember that users need three primary resources for the call to work: Network connectivity, power, and a device that supports Wi-Fi calling.

However, it is important to note that one of the major differences between WiFi and cellular calling is the way that these calls are recorded; cellular communications use CDR (Call Detail Record) records to attach location and time to communications based on cell tower connections, whereas VoIP or WiFi calls do not retain this same kind of location-based records. With this in mind, when making an emergency call over WiFi calling, users must tell the operator their exact location in case the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) cannot access your location based on the VoIP transmission. Most cellular calls can be tracked by police or emergency services to access your location immediately.

How Secure is VoIP Calling?

While it is convenient to have access to Wi-Fi calling and VoIP services, it is important to note that there are also accompanying cyber-vulnerabilities. For example, these types of calls are not as secure or encrypted as regular cellular calls. Users may want to investigate VLAN configurations, HIPAA, SOX, and PCI to optimize the security of their calls in relation to the rest of their networks. Additionally, users could also think about adding user authentication policies onto a VoIP application such as: 2-Factor Authentication to make the call more secure. In a study conducted by The Register, researchers made the argument that AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile have failed to provide proper authentication/security in Wi-Fi calling. It is recommended that a user incorporate Wi-Fi calling on their device at their own discretion.


Coen, Melissa. “The History of VoIP and Business Phone Systems.” West Unified Communications Services, 2017, www.westuc.com/en-us/blog/hosted-voice-networks/history-VoIP-and-business-phone-systems.

Anthony, James. “71 Key VoIP Statistics: 2020 Data Analysis & Market Share.” Financesonline.com, FinancesOnline.com, 4 May 2020, financesonline.com/voip-statistics/.

Perry, George, et al. “Understanding 911 over VoIP.” Bandwidth, 22 Apr. 2020, www.bandwidth.com/blog/understanding-911-over-voip/.

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP). 1 Nov. 2015, www.fcc.gov/general/voice-over-internet-protocol-voip.

“VoIP Security – How to Protect Your Voice.” Cisco, Cisco, 8 June 2020, www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/small-business/resource-center/security/tips-ip-phone-security.html.

Claburn, Thomas. “Little FYI: Wi-Fi Calling Services on AT&T, T-Mobile US, Verizon Are Insecure, Say Boffins.” The Register® - Biting the Hand That Feeds IT, The Register, 30 Nov. 2018, www.theregister.com/2018/11/30/wifi_calling_services_insecure/.

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