Voice over Internet Protocol, best known as VoIP offers a convenient solution, particularly for long distance communication. VoIP involves the digitization of the human voice, which is then send over internet. In essence, VoIP is like using a telephone online and the majority of VoIP services available also support texts and video-chat. Companies generally use dedicated IP Phones or WiFi phones (wireless options) along with Analogue Telephone Adapters (ATA), but there are cheaper or free computer-to-computer alternatives available for home users. Popular solutions like Skype allow you to stay in touch with your family and friends around the world.
Some VoIP providers
For many people, Skype is the first name that comes to mind when talking about VoIP services. Apart from offering free voice, text and video-chat between computers or mobile devices, it also supports cheap calls from a computer to a traditional landline or mobile phone. Skype is compatible with multiple platforms, including mobile devices so you can enjoy the convenience of free or low cost calls, even when you are on the go. Since Skype is widely used, it is one of the most effective ways to get in touch with friends and family who live abroad, without having to worry about hefty long distance rates.
Hangouts has evolved through time and it currently offers good stability and reliable performance. Since it is is integrated into Gmail, it is a well-known and convenient option for users of Google’s email service. Hangouts supports group conversations and it is a practical solution for long-distance meetings. It also offers video chat and works on a wide selection of devices. Its straightforward interface and ease of use are the highlights of Hangouts.
Apple’s own VoIP and text chat technology is available on all versions of OS X and iOS devices. FaceTime allows you to video chat with other Apple users and iMessage is a hig quality solution for sending and receiving texts, photos and more. The downside is that FaceTime doesn’t support calls to landlines or mobile phones. Additionally, it is restricted to Apple platforms.
The main advantage of Jitsi is that it is a free and open source solution that works on Windows, OS X and Linux. Since open source software can be independently audited, it is less likely to contain backdoors and other issues. This makes it is the preferred option for people who are concerned about their privacy. Jitsi offers good functionality and practical features like echo cancellation and noise suppression.
Vonage is another good option to enjoy the advantages of VoIP and it offers great functionality and high quality apps for multiple platforms. Vonage is recognized as the first service of its kind to include support for calls to emergency services. The service has over 2.5 millions users in the US, the UK and Canada. They have a variety of plans available to suit different needs.
Why should you use a VPN for VoIP?
The first reason is that a VPN will enhance the security of your communications thanks to the use of encryption. We live under the threat of online surveillance and hacking, which is why it is important to protect our private conversations. Calls and messages could be monitored and recorded and in the case of Skype, if someone knows your username, they can trace your IP address and identify your location. With a VPN, you can disguise your IP address and maintain the privacy of your communications.
Although in theory, a VPN would slow down your connection and may affect the quality of your communications, the truth is that modern technology allows fast processing of encryption/decryption tasks. Plus, if you choose a VPN provider that supports good speeds, you will probably not notice a significant impact. It is also worth mentioning that the best VPN providers offer efficient routes that can even improve your experience when using a VoIP service.
Apart from offering security, a VPN service is also the best solution for people who wish to use Skype, even though the service is not available to them. VoIP services are banned or restricted partially in countries like China and Iran. Since you can change your IP address by connecting to a server outside your location and your online traffic is directed through a secure tunnel, a VPN enables you to access VoIP services that have been blocked in your country.
Using a VPN will help you to sign up to a free VoIP service without revealing your actual location or identity, which will make tracing a conversation back to you, very difficult. In addition, changing your IP address could also allow you to unlock free calls to landlines and mobile phones. As you see, a VPN offers many benefits for VoIP services and the below solutions will allow you to secure your communications and to enjoy flexibility to stay in touch with your friends, family or colleagues, no matter how far away they are.
The efficient speed of IPVanish’s service and its wide selection of servers in 60 countries are some of the factors that make it a good solution for VoIP users. They are in charge of their own network so they can offer a reliable and fast option to secure your communications. IPVanish supports Bitcoin as method of payment and no logs are kept.
Golden Frog, the company that offers VyprVPN, is a well established internet consortium so you can expect a reliable and effective VPN solution. They run their own data center, allowing them to offer fantastic speeds. No logs of your online activity are kept and thanks to their proprietary Chameleon technology, you can bypass firewalls and enjoy a secure and versatile VoIP experience.
ExpressVPN offers servers in 87 countries and its network continues growing to provide more options to disguise your IP and bypass restrictions. They are now based in the British Virgin Islands, which is considering an ideal location for VPNs due to the lax data retention laws. ExpressVPN is know for its remarkably fast service and for the great quality of its software.
Hong Kong-based provider PureVPN boasts over 500 servers in 141 countries, giving you flexibility to access VoIP services and other online content, even if it is generally not available in your country. They offer high encryption and useful features to keep your conversations secure. Options like NAT firewall (which is convenient for use on public networks) are also available for an additional cost.
PIA is affordable and supports convenient features such as kill switch, which will disable your internet access, in case your VPN connection fails. This will ensure that your privacy remains intact. PIA also provides effective speeds and access to over 3,300 servers in 24 countries. They don’t keep usage logs and you can enjoy up to 5 simultaneous connections.