Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a term used in the telecommunications industry to describe the delivery of voice information in digital form. It is the opposite of circuit-to-circuit protocols used by traditional telephone networks.
In VoIP, calls are broken up into small packages of information, which make their way across either the public Internet or a secure intranet. Once they arrive at their destination, they are reassembled, and the the digital information is translated into sound.
One way to look at the difference between VoIP and old-fashioned telephony is to compare a freeway to a railway. In VoIP, packets of information can dash in and out of lanes to reach their destination. It can be an efficient way of travel as long as there are no accidents. When VoIP is used on the public Internet, it is almost impossible to provide a consistent, predictable quality of service. When packets are lost or arrive late, the conversation becomes choppy.
To circumvent that problem, private networks are being established to guarantee that high-quality voice conversations can be delivered. Services like Lipstream purchase bandwidth that's separate from the public Internet to create their own highways, uncluttered with other Internet Protocol requests.
Lipstream's voice-based CRM applications are indicative of the way many third-party vendors are attempting to bring the quality and utility of VoIP to circuit-switched calls. These efforts will be significant in making VoIP more common not only for inexpensive voice telephony but for adding value to Web-based marketing.