Changing the Way We Do Business: A History of VoIP


Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has come a long way since its inception. Today, it is a widely adopted and essential communication tool for businesses worldwide. But how did it all begin? This blog section delves into the history of VoIP for business, tracing its roots from the 1970s to the present day, and explores where the future of business VoIP is headed.

ARPANET and Day Sailing

The history of VoIP can be traced back to the 1970s with the creation of ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), the precursor to the modern-day internet. Developed by the U.S. Department of Defense, ARPANET allowed researchers to share data and resources across a network.

In 1973, ARPANET saw the first-ever transfer of real-time voice data, thanks to Network Voice Protocol (NVP) technology. Danny Cohen, an Israeli-American computer scientist, and Vinton Cerf, one of the “fathers of the internet,” were the pioneers behind this project. More advanced protocols later replaced NVP, but it laid the foundation for the future of voice communication over the internet.

The term “day sailing” refers to transmitting voice over ARPANET during off-peak hours when the network was less congested. As businesses realized the potential of digital communication, they began to explore the idea of using VoIP for business.

VocalTec and Asterisk

The 1990s saw significant advancements in technology. In 1995, Israeli company VocalTec launched the first commercial VoIP product, Internet Phone. VocalTec’s software allowed users to make voice calls using a computer, microphone, and speakers, with the call being transmitted over the internet.

In 1999, Mark Spencer, a young entrepreneur, founded Asterisk – an open-source PBX system that allowed businesses to create customizable solutions. Asterisk’s affordability and flexibility played a crucial role in the widespread adoption of VoIP technology by businesses worldwide.

Pivots and Explosive Growth

The 2000s were a period of explosive growth for VoIP technology. With the widespread adoption of broadband internet, VoIP calls became clearer and more reliable. Businesses of all sizes began to embrace VoIP as a cost-effective alternative to traditional telephone systems.

This decade also saw the emergence of various service providers, such as Vonage and Skype, offering affordable and feature-rich solutions for businesses. The introduction of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) in the early 2000s fueled the growth of VoIP, allowing for the integration of voice, video, and messaging services over a single platform.

Barriers to VoIP Industry Entry Reduced in 2010s

The 2010s saw a reduction in barriers to entry for the industry. As technology advanced and standardized, the cost of VoIP hardware and software decreased, making it more accessible to businesses of all sizes. Cloud-based VoIP solutions emerged as a popular choice, eliminating the need for on-site hardware and maintenance.

Moreover, the rise of smartphones and mobile applications allowed businesses to easily integrate VoIP technology into their existing communication infrastructure. This further accelerated the adoption of VoIP by businesses, as employees could now make and receive calls using their business phone numbers from anywhere in the world.

The Future of Business VoIP

The future of business VoIP looks promising. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect even more advancements, such as improved call quality, enhanced security, and seamless integration with other communication tools.


VoIP has come a long way since its humble beginnings in the 1970s. Today, it is an essential communication tool for businesses worldwide, and with continuous advancements in technology, the future of business VoIP looks brighter than ever.

Are you interested in VoIP in Calgary? Look no further than TP Communications! With over 25 years of experience in the industry, our team of experts is dedicated to helping organizations navigate technology and find optimal customized solutions for each client. Contact us today!