What Happens When I Dial a Phone Number Using VoIP?
Many of us pick up a phone and either make a call or answer one multiple times daily. But what happens when you dial a number?
In today’s digital age, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has revolutionized communication. VoIP lets us make phone calls over the internet, converting our voice into data packets traversing the virtual world. But have you ever wondered what happens behind the scenes when you dial a phone number from a VoIP device? Let’s walk you through the journey of a VoIP phone call, step by step, in simple terms.
What We Think Happens:
It seems simple right? Well, it’s a little more complicated than that. Ok, a lot more complicated. There are many automated systems that come into play when you dial a phone number.
Step 1: Dialing the Phone Number
It all starts with you picking up your VoIP phone or launching a VoIP app (also known as a softphone) on your computer or smartphone. When you enter the phone number and press the call button, the VoIP device sends a signal to a nearby router. The router acts as a gateway, connecting your device to the internet.
Step 2: VoIP Data Packet Creation
Once the router receives the call signal, the VoIP device initiates the process of converting your voice into data packets. These data packets are small chunks of information that carry your voice in digital form. Think of these packets as tiny containers, each carrying a piece of your voice.
Step 3: Packetization of Voice
Your voice is analog in nature, meaning it’s continuous and not suitable for traveling over the internet. Your voice is first digitized to make it internet-friendly, breaking it down into smaller, manageable pieces. These pieces are then packetized into data packets. Each packet contains a small segment of your voice and additional information like the destination address (where it needs to go) and the source address (where it came from).
Step 4: Addressing and Routing
With your voice now converted into data packets, the VoIP device attaches the necessary addressing information to each packet. This includes the IP (Internet Protocol) address of the recipient’s VoIP device or phone number, which acts as the destination. The source IP address is your VoIP device’s address.
Once the addressing is complete, the router examines the destination IP address. Suppose the destination is within the same local network (e.g., a colleague on the same office VoIP system). In that case, the router will forward the data packets directly to the recipient.
Step 5: Transmission via the Internet
The data packets will travel through the internet if the destination is outside the local network. They may pass through multiple routers and network switches on their way to the recipient. These devices act as digital post offices, ensuring the packets take the most efficient route to reach their destination.
Step 6: Arrival at the VoIP Provider’s Server
After traveling through the internet, the data packets finally reach the server of the VoIP service provider that hosts the recipient’s VoIP number. This server handles incoming calls and directs them to the appropriate recipient.
Step 7: Packet Reassembly
Upon arrival at the server, the data packets are reassembled in the correct order. Remember, these packets may have taken different routes through the internet, so reassembly is vital to ensure the recipient hears your voice coherently.
Step 8: Conversion to Analog
Now that your voice has reached the recipient’s VoIP device, it’s time to convert it back into an analog signal. The recipient’s VoIP device does the opposite of what your device did earlier: It takes the digitized data packets and transforms them into a continuous analog voice stream.
Step 9: Ringing and Answering
If the recipient’s VoIP device is ringing, the server sends a signal to make it ring or display an incoming call notification. Once the recipient answers, a two-way audio channel is established between both VoIP devices.
Step 10: Real-Time Communication
As you speak, your voice is continually converted into data packets, sent across the internet, and reassembled on the recipient’s end. Simultaneously, the recipient’s voice travels back to your device in the same packetized format. These rapid exchanges allow real-time communication between you and the recipient.
Ok, So Who Owns My Phone Number?
When you get a phone number, you typically acquire it from a telecommunications company or a service provider. You can think of these companies as the “phone number landlords.” They manage and operate the telephone network, including assigning phone numbers to individuals, businesses, or organizations.
Just like you rent or own a house, you can rent or “lease” a phone number from the telecommunications company. It means you have the right to use that specific phone number for making and receiving calls, texts, or using other communication services associated with that number.
If you decide to switch phone service providers, you can often take your phone number with you. This process is called “number porting,” and it allows you to transfer your existing phone number from one provider to another.
In short, a phone number is leased by the person or organization that is using it and has the authority to control the services linked to that number. While you may not physically own the number like you own a possession, you have the right to use it as long as you maintain a valid service agreement with the telecommunications company.
Fun Fact: the ringing you hear is not the same as the other party’s. Both are generated independently. So if you hear four rings, the other party may have only received two.
Making a VoIP phone call involves an intricate process of converting analog voice into data packets, routing them through the internet, and reassembling them at the recipient’s end. While it can seem like magic, understanding how it works can give you a deeper appreciation for the technology that enables seamless and cost-effective voice communication in the digital age. VoIP has transformed how we stay connected. ClearlyIP will continue to remain on the leading edge of development, ensuring our partners and clients have the latest features.