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VoIP also voip or Voip

verb [intransitive/transitive]

to make a telephone call over the Internet using Voice over Internet Protocol technology


noun [uncountable]

'If you're sick of being charged over the odds prices for making calls abroad on your mobile, it's probably time you Voiped.'

The Guardian 26th May 2005

'Over 50? … Got Grandkids? Then Start VoIPing. Vonage Canada … will provide a special offer to CARP members who sign up for Vonage's leading Internet phone service … "The telephone remains the best way for seniors to stay in touch with family and friends."'

globeandmail.com 13th April 2006

On the 27th April 2006, Internet telephony company Skype™ claimed a major milestone when it announced the signing of its 100 millionth user. Skype was launched just two and a half years ago, and continues to be the fastest growing Internet telephony program based on the technology of VoIP.

the huge advantage of VoIP is that it can be very cheap relative to conventional or mobile telephone services

VoIP (also regularly occurring as Voip and voip) is an acronym of Voice over Internet Protocol, and is now used as a verb which is synonymous with the idea of 'making a telephone call over the Internet', e.g. 'Do you want to try voiping me?' / 'Voip him at 416-907-9848.' An activity noun VoIPing is also very common.

The technology of VoIP involves the routing of voice data over the Internet using a general purpose network, as opposed to the dedicated transmission lines associated with conventional telephony. VoIP is often referred to by non-technical descriptions such as Internet telephony or broadband phone.

The huge advantage of VoIP is that it can be very cheap relative to conventional or mobile telephone services, and sometimes even free. It also enables users to travel anywhere in the world and, providing they have access to the Internet, still make and receive calls regardless of their location. For instance, if a user has a New York phone number, is travelling in Europe, and someone calls them, the number will ring in Europe. If the user phones New York while travelling in Europe, the call will be treated as a local one. A major disadvantage of VoIP, however, is that it can be problematic for emergency calls. The nature of the technology makes it difficult to identify the geographical location of the user, so emergency services can only locate the caller if they are able to provide an address.

A number of VoIP operators currently exist, but the best known and most widely used is Skype™ – so much so that the company name has also morphed into a noun Skyp(e)ing and a verb Skype or skype, e.g. 'I Skyped you this morning.' / 'He regularly skypes me when he's travelling on business.' Skype™ was co-founded by Scandinavian entrepreneurs Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis. The Skype™ program enables users to make free calls over the Internet to anyone else who has Skype™, or (competitively) charged calls to landlines and mobiles. It can be downloaded free from the Internet. You can find out more at www.skype.com.

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

This article was first published on 15th May 2006.

Open Dictionary

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