The world of VoIP is filled with many interesting trivia. It’s a technology with a rich history and an evolution filled with success stories and innovators. Here are just seven of the many eye-opening facts about Voice over Internet Protocol.

One: Gaming VoIP is used by criminals to order mob hits
Gaming is a very popular way of using VoIP. Believe it not, according to PoliceOne, criminals like drug dealers and mobsters are using second life to launder game money into real money. In a classic example of hiding in plain sight, there is so much information in games that it is difficult to police, so criminals can talk to each other, including ordering hits on other criminals. This is a worldwide phenomenon with international cartels communicating over VoIP.

Two: With VoIP, your phone can call you
Ooma, a residential VoIP provider, has a service called “911 Alert.” Once available only to premium subscribers, the feature is now standard to all subscribers. With 911 Alert, subscribers can enter email and alternate phone numbers that will be notified when the Ooma subscriber calls 911.

Three: Asterisk, the big name in open-source PBX software
In 1999, Computer Engineering student Mark Spencer had a growing business providing technical support, and needed a PBX. But, all the business quotes came well above $50,000, much to his surprise. Being a computer guy, he wrote code to have computers do the work of the PBX and Asterisk was born. He kept Asterisk open source, meaning anyone can use and modify the code. Since then, thousands of developers have added and tweaked features on Asterisk. For those who understand code, it’s possible and even comparatively easy to start your own VoIP service.

Four: Nextiva still serves their employees free lunches every Friday
In a tradition that started less than six months after the company’s founding, Nextiva began serving employee lunches in November of 2008. At the time, it cost just $42, and their office was just 12,000 sq ft. By February of 2012, Nextiva had moved into a 30,000 sq ft office, and their budget was $1,500 per week.

Five: The first VoIP call was made in 1974, on the ARPANET
In 1974, the ARPANET, the precurser to todays’ internet, existed as a network of connections on government and educational computers. Using an algorythm called “continuous variable slope delta (CVSD) modulation,” a real time voice sample was sent at 16 kb/s between the Information Sciences Institute and Lincoln Lab between two computers directly, in August 1974. The first two-way VoIP communication took place in December of 1974.

Six: The FCC wants to make Wi-Fi available for free to all Americans
Free govenement Wi-Fi is a polarizing subject, with privacy advocates, free market supporters, and consumer advocates all have something to say. While each side makes salient points, the fact remains if this effort is successful, then most of us will be able to make free calls using VoIP features over nationwide Wi-Fi.

VoIP has some fascinating facts if you’re in the know. From its humble beginnings to its estimated 15 billion dollars worth of business around the world, there is no shortage of colorful companies, founding fathers, silky sound quality, and impressive innovations. New VoIP providers, phones, and services are entering the field on daily basis. We can look forward to many firsts in the years to come.

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