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Telephony software clients are the focus of topics highlighted in this category, particularly that used in Internet telephony.

In a general form, telephony refers to the entire field of technology that involves the development and application of telecommunications to transmit voice, fax, or data between parties at remote locations. Early implementations of the technology include the invention of the telephone and telegraph.

Today, the term is more commonly used in reference to the computer software, hardware, and network systems that perform functions traditionally performed by the telephone system, and that's the sense in which we will be using the word in this category.

Fewer than fifty percent of US homes, today have landline telephones, as PC-based telephony is becoming more widely used for communications. Internet telephony refers to the software and hardware products that allow users to use their Internet connections for voice and data communications. With the dominance of fixed-price Internet access, Internet telephony software gives the user free telephone calls anywhere in the world, as it is paid for in the cost of the Internet service.

There are three main categories of Internet telephony. These are PC-to-PC telephony, PC-to-phone telephony, and phone-to-phone telephony.

Through computer-to-computer (PC-to-PC) calling, the client software converts voice into data packets, then routes it over the Internet to the receiving client, which turns the data packets back into voice signals that are transmitted through speakers or headphones on the receiving end.

PC-to-phone telephony allows calls to be made from a user's computer to a regular telephone. This is similar to PC-to-PC calling, but it is a service that a user pays for, although it is less expensive than a traditional long-distance telephone provider. PC-to-phone service requires the same equipment as with PC-to-PC.

With PC-to-phone, the computer is the originating gateway, converting voice into data packets, which are sent through the Internet. At the receiving end, the software converts the data packets back into voice signals that are routed through the regular telephone line.

Phone-to-phone calling is the most recent form of Internet telephony. It allows telephone calls to be placed over the Internet, but without requiring special software or even a computer; rather, it uses traditional telephones on both ends.

Phone-to-phone telephony requires an Internet Telephony Service Provider (ITSP), which will have gateways in various places around the world. When a call is placed through a phone-to-phone telephony service, voice is digitized, compressed, and converted into data packets, which are sent over the Internet to the gateway nearest the receiving party. There, the packets are converted back into voice and sent the rest of the way through traditional telephone lines. Because most of the transmission is over the Internet, phone-to-phone telephony is cheaper than traditional telephone service.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a technology that delivers voice communications over IP networks, such as the Internet. IP telephony, Internet telephony, broadband telephony, and broadband phone services, are terms for the technology that involves the transmission of voice, fax, voice messaging, and SMS over the public Internet, as opposed to traditional wired telephone services. The technology involved in VoIP is similar to that of traditional telephone services except that, rather than being transmitted over a circuit-switched network, the digital information is bundled into packets and transmitted over a packet-switched network.

Methods of VoIP include specialized VoIP phones, which resemble traditional phones but work differently. VoIP is also available through personal computers and other devices with Internet access. Calls and SMS text messages can be sent through mobile data or Wi-Fi. VoIP consolidates modern communications technologies into a unified communications system.

Software and services relating to telephony clients are the focus of this category. However, the focus of this category is on the software. VoIP services should be listed in the VOIP category within the Technology section of the Business & Industry tree.





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