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What Is a VoIP in Mississippi?

The acronym VoIP, in full, means Voice over Internet Protocol. It refers to a group of technologies that use Internet Protocol (IP) networks, such as the Internet, to deliver voice communications and multimedia sessions. It simply means voice transmitted over a digital network. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) explains it to be a technology that allows voice calls to be made using a broadband internet connection instead of a regular phone line.

What Are VoIP and Internet Calls?

There is no substantive difference between VoIP and internet calls. They both utilize a set of standardized technologies that deliver voice calls via the internet. VoIP and internet calls send data as packets using Internet network protocols in contrast to traditional circuit transmissions of the public switched telephone networks (PSTN).

How Do VoIP and Internet Calls Compare to Landline and Cell Phone Calls?

Both VoIP and regular phone systems provide platforms for communication and sharing messages. However, there is a vast difference between VoIP and internet calls and regular telephone calls.  Regular phone calls use basic telephone models with enough attributes to dial numbers and establish calls; their systems communicate using analog signals. These signals travel through a looped pair of cables with continuously changing frequency and altitude, which are decrypted at the receiving end. In contrast, VoIP calls sound waves travel in digital form through wired or wireless networks.

VoIP and internet calls use packet switching to convey data in packets over digital networks. The destination point of each packet determines the transmission, which is usually in separate, small blocks. On getting to the recipient, the packets are reassembled in a proper sequence to deliver the message. Regular telephone calls, namely landlines and cell phones, use circuit switching, which involves two nodes establishing a specialized channel through the network for both nodes to interconnect.

Cell phone calls are transmitted through electrical signals and radio waves through a base station that routes all cell phone calls made within an area. These radio waves are then routed to the device of the receiver by the base station. With landlines, the soundwaves are transmitted through electrical energy, which is transferred from the caller’s landline to the receiver’s device through copper wires and telephone exchanges.

Some of the advantages VoIP and internet calls have over cell phones and landlines calls include:

  • Costs: The operation and maintenance cost is relatively cheap compared to regular calls. VoIP offers a budget-friendly service for long-distance calls, such as international calls.
  • Accessibility: VoIP calls can be made from anywhere globally, provided there is an active connection to the internet. However, regular telephone calls are bounded by geographical location.
  • Features: VoIP calls have more premium features than regular calls, such as multimedia support, and these are provided at a low cost.
  • Better voice quality: VoIP calls have higher sound quality than regular calls; when the internet connection is stable and the bandwidth is high, making them produce clear quality sounds.

In addition, VoIP has a simple setup and maintenance, and most of its features are available at no additional cost.

Does Mississippi Regulate VoIP Providers?

The Mississippi Public Service Commission (MSPSC) has limited regulatory authority over wireless, internet, broadband, voice-over-internet protocol, or bundled service offerings. The Telecommunications Division does monitor these areas to provide information to policymakers in the state.

Mississippi county boards may impose an emergency telephone service charge not exceeding $1.00 per residential telephone subscriber line per month, $1.00 per VoIP subscriber account per month, and $2.00 per commercial telephone subscriber line per month for exchange telephone service. Districts already in existence as of 1993 are subject to a separate levy structure. (MS Code Ann Sec. 19-5-313(1)). No service charges may be imposed upon more than 25 exchange access facilities or VoIP lines per person per location.

What Do You Need for VoIP and Internet Calls?

The first requirement is an active, strong, and reliable broadband connection, preferably a fiber-optic network. The best VoIP experience is with an FTTP or ethernet connection, which some business broadband providers make available. Other tools necessary are dependent on the user's VoIP calling method preferences, which could be any of the following:

  • VoIP with a Smartphone
  • VoIP with a Computer
  • VoIP with a Landline

VoIP on a Smartphone

This requires the use of a mobile/smartphone, a strong internet connection (WiFi), and an installed application for internet calls. Internet call applications that you can use on smartphones to call other people who have the same app include; Skype, FaceTime, Viber, Line, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, etc.

VoIP with a Computer

A user who prefers VoIP and internet calls with a computer will need as a requirement; a laptop or desktop computer having an internet connection, the right software, either speakers or headsets, and a microphone. Some of these software programs include; Apple Facetime, Skype, and Google Talk. Making calls to someone who has the app is free, but calling an actual phone number will cost the user.

VoIP with a Landline

In this case, a user makes use of an Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA) and a regular landline. These adapters plug into either a compatible router or a phone socket in the wall.

Are VoIP Numbers Different from Regular Phone Numbers?

A Voice over Internet Protocol number is quite different from regular phone numbers even if they have the same number of digits as the regular phone number. The mode of transmission between the two technologies is not the same. The differences include:

  • VoIP number is assigned to a user, as opposed to being assigned to a specific phone line.
  • A VoIP number is not restricted by location, as long as there is an active and working internet connection in both the caller and recipient’s locations. In contrast, a regular phone number is restricted by location.
  • A regular number travels through copper phone lines, while a VoIP number utilizes data networks, such as the internet and internal enterprise LANs (Local Area Networks) to make calls.
  • It is possible to use VoIP numbers on more than one device simultaneously. On the other hand, a telephone number can be used by just one user, on one device at a time.

While there are differences between VoIP and traditional numbers and calls, it is quite possible to identify unknown callers with reverse phone lookup searches whether they use landline, mobile, or VoIP numbers.

Can You Make Free Internet Calls?

It is possible to make free internet calls. However, both caller and receiver need to have an active broadband connection and use the same application to enable a free internet call. These free applications are available in four different forms, namely:

  • PC to PC – An individual may use a computer to place a free call to another computer, but both PCs must have the appropriate software programs installed in them.
  • PC to Phone – With compatible PC software programs, a user can place a phone call to a regular telephone number without using a mobile phone.
  • App to App – This involves calls placed with applications that enable free internet calls between devices. These services run solely on smartphones or tablets, meaning that phone calls only work if the recipient has the same application installed. This method does not support calls to landlines or other mobile phones without the proper software.
  • App to Phone – With the required apps, you can make free internet calls from a mobile device to a real number. This method supports phone calls to any number, including landlines and mobile phones that do not use the app.