The History of Voice over Internet Protocol By the end of 2006,
Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) may account for as much as
25 – 40% of international voice traffic. This prediction is
impressive, but it is even more amazing when you consider the
relatively short history of voice over internet protocol. It
began as a hobby for some people in Israel who were only able to
communicate by computer.
Later that year, in 1995, the first company in the history of
voice over internet protocol to put a product on the market was
Vocaltec. They released Internet Phone Software, which in
combination with a home computer, sound card, speakers,
microphone and modem allowed users to make a phone call over the
internet. However, the people on both ends had to have the same
setup, and sound quality was much less than on a normal phone.
In 1998, there were more milestones in the history of voice over
internet protocol. Entrepreneurs began to recognize the
potential of the technology and soon computer-to-phone and
phone-to-phone connections (still using a computer for the
transmission) were possible for making voice calls over the
internet. The service was available using a phone at a
provider’s location in North America only.
It required the users to listen to an advertisement at the
beginning and end of each phone call, but in exchange their long
distance calls were free. In 1998, less than 1% of voice calls
were made using voice over internet protocol.
Businesses began to use VOIP over their intranets to help
communicate within their company. But with the introduction of
switching equipment in 1998 by 3 manufacturing companies, the
history of voice over internet protocol took a turn towards the
Now VOIP could become more readily available to users at home
instead of at a specific facility belonging to the provider. By
the year 2000, more than 3% of voice calls were made over the
internet using VOIP.
Today, there are both hardware and software options for those
interested in business VOIP and for their personal use. You can
purchase hardware that will allow you to use your normal phone
handset when making a phone call.
You can buy phones that are VOIP ready and need only an internet
broadband connection. Or, you can purchase or download software
that will let you use your computer instead of a phone, provided
that you have speakers, a microphone, and an appropriate sound
Many phone companies have begun to offer packages that include
local and long distance VOIP calls for a flat monthly fee. With
the advent of broadband services, sound quality has become
parallel to regular land line phones for the first time in the
history of voice over internet protocol. And the number of
people using VOIP is only expected to grow.