Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, means that your voice is carried over the IP network, otherwise known as the Internet. Your voice, which is an analogue signal, is converted to digital data, which is then disassembled and transmitted through the Internet only to be re-converted back to an analogue signal on the other end.
Protocols used to carry voice signals over the IP network are commonly referred to as Voice over IP or VoIP protocols.
Traditional vs. Modern
In a traditional telephone phone system (POTS, Plain Old Telephone System) an analogue voice signal is switched to make a single direct connection to each point.
Within VoIP, the analogue signal is broken in to packets that are delivered to the other end (connection) by various routes on the Internet. At the end of each connection is a system that re-assembles and puts together the original voice signal. This re-assembly is then converted to an analogue signal which can be listened to via a standard telephone device.
Your voice (analogue signal) is converted through a device called a VoIP adapter. You can make local and long distance telephone calls over the Internet using your computer, VoIP IP Phone or VoIP adapter (including through phone systems), and remember, our SIP to SIP (within our SIP provider) calls are completely free of charge!