Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about How VoIP Works and other VOIP topics.
Circuit switching (the basis of traditional phone service) has been around for more than a 100 years and might have been around a hundred more if packet switching hadn't come along.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) uses packet-switching technology. Packet switching, a way of breaking up a phone conversation and transmitting it in a way that eliminates wasted space, is a vast improvement over the old method.
A packet-switched network sends and retrieves data only as you need it. While circuit switching sends your phone conversation over a dedicated line (no one else is using it), a packet-switched phone conversation flows through a frenzied network along thousands of possible paths.
Circuit switching keeps the connection between you and the person you're calling open and constant. Packet switching opens a brief connection that's just long enough to send a small piece of your conversation (a chunk of data called a packet) from one system to another. And if you're not talking, it's not sending.
When the multitude of packets (traveling a multitude of paths) gets to its destination, the packets of conversation are reassembled into the original form. And you didn't even know it happened.