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International Internet Day: VoIP And The Internet
It is International Internet day on the 29th October, so we thought we would take some time this week to look at the history of VoIP and the internet.
How Old Is VoIP?
It would be easy to assume that VoIP is as old as the internet, but it is actually much older than you think, the first VoIP communication actually dates back to 1973.
In the middle of the 1960s the US Department of Defence started work on a new idea of computer networking. Called the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network or ARPNET, it was mainly used as a way of communicating between the Defence Department and the Military.
So, in 1973 the first VoIP call was made, although at the time it was called VoIP and in fact the internet wasn’t even called the internet.
How Old Is The Internet?
Although the idea of computer networks dates back to the 60s, it wasn’t until the 1980s that Tim Berners Lee created what we now know as the world wide web. Up until then there were computer networks even between different buildings, but Time Berners Lee created one that could be accessed by anyone all over the world.
VoIP And The 90s
It wasn’t until 1996 that the first dedicated VoIP software solution was created. An Israeli based company, Voaltec created their VoIP software package. You can find out more about it here in this fascinating article by phoneia.com.
This early VoIP product was imaginatively called ‘Internet Phone’ and let one user connect to another user over the internet as long as both users were using the software provided at the same time.
There wasn’t any video call technology at that time, so you can see how quickly the VoIP software and hardware has evolved when you look at the VoIP solutions available in 2019, compared to 1996, only 23 years ago. Which is relatively short space of time.
In the early days of VoIP, this was in the days before broadband, it was quite costly and the technology involved couldn’t always provide a consistent level of call quality.
The early days of internet connections weren’t designed to cope with audio calls and would quite often result in crackly lines, sound drop outs or lagging and calls being disconnected.
As the 90s progressed, the gradual introduction of broadband technology meant that larger, well established I.T Companies started to take an in interest in VoIP technology. For example, Cisco Systems and Norte started to manufacture VoIP solutions.
The bigger bandwidth and faster internet speeds that broadband provided gave the opportunity for some of the VoIP functionality and processing power to be moved away from the home or desktop computer and could be used by the VoIP hardware.
Indeed, by 2003, only seven years since the ‘Internet Phone’ was first introduced, VoIP calls accounted for 25% of all voice calls.
VoIP Video Call Technology
In the same year that a quarter of voice calls were made using VoIP technology, a company called Skype launched their first software package.
What was revolutionary about Skype at that stage wasn’t that voice calls could be made via the internet, it was that as long as the user had a computer or laptop with access to the internet, they could make calls.
Up until then anyone using VoIP solutions had to buy and use special handsets.
Two years later, in 2005, Skype introduced the main reason why they are such a well-known name to this day, video calls!
It’s easy to take for granted the fact that anyone with a mobile phone, laptop or tablet can make free video calls to anyone all over the world.
As you can imagine, the popularity of video calls opened up a whole new world for VoIP solutions.
Larger companies with a global presence realised that this could be used to carry out team meetings between different offices in different time zones.
The obvious advantage of having visual and audio over a good quality internet connection that could be used not just by huge corporations but by the general public, changed the way people communicate, forever.
The Future Of VoIp And The Internet
As we mentioned in one of our recent blog posts, the future of VoIP solutions could be about to have its biggest change since 2005. 5g technology has the potential to vastly improve the quality and consistency of voice calls over the internet.
So, watch this space!
Get In Touch
If you would like to go into more detail about how VoIP and the internet, then please do not hesitate to contact us.
Our team of trained experts will be more than happy to help.