A History Lesson on VoIP

In my last post, I gave a short overview of VoIP (pronounced voyp, just in case you like knowing those kinds of things). Today I will be giving a brief history lesson on VoIP (HISTORY? YAY!), I know that’s what you just said to yourself, don’t lie. But really, with any topic you are trying to learn more about it’s always good to understand the history behind it right? Right. Plus, being a relatively new technology, VoIP has a pretty short history. So don’t worry, this will be painless. With that said, here we go.

First, let’s think about the technology that was needed to make VoIP a possibility – telephones and the Internet. In the late 1960’s the Internet started being developed by ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) so that U.S. Department of Defense researchers and engineers could share information with one another. Just a few years later, on the same network, they began experimenting with the ability to send voice across a digital network and some of the first VoIP calls were made. This was called Network Voice Protocol (NVP).

Speak Freely, the first VoIP application, was released as public domain in 1991. In 1995 a small company in Israel called Vocaltec released the first commercial Internet phone software, a product called InternetPhone. With this product, one user was able to call another user via their computers, a microphone, and speakers. However, it only worked if the caller and receiver had the same software setup.

At the end of 1998 only 1% of all calls were VoIP, but by 2003 that number had jumped to 25%.

In 2005, VoIP was in full effect as an increasing number of VoIP providers emerged onto the scene. High-speed internet access was widely available, so the issue of voice quality was no longer a problem and the service became more reliable than ever. The combination of affordability and bandwidth efficiency that VoIP technology provided meant that more and more businesses decided to make the switch in order to reduce their monthly phone costs and by 2008, 80% of all new PBX lines installed internationally were VoIP.

In 2009, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was signed into law. The goal of the Act? To bring internet to unserved, underserved, and rural areas across the United States. To put it into the simplest terms, the government wants there to be internet everywhere. This leads me to the future of VoIP, which looks well, pretty awesome. The issues that previously surrounded VoIP are fading away and the more people educate themselves on the technology the more they realize the numerous benefits to adopting the service. Well, that’s it. Told you it would be quick.

Don’t forget to keep coming back, and if you ever have any questions or comments for me, I would love to talk to you! You can contact me at <my first name>@telonium.com