FiOS Digital Voice: Here's How It Works

To understand the features and quality of FiOS Digital Voice, you first need to know that the service is not the same as the services you get with a little Internet adapter for your modem and phone, and it does not ever touch the public Internet.

What it is instead is a versatile, reliable voice service from Verizon that completes the FiOS service picture and offers customers many new, innovative features.

FiOS Digital Voice uses an IP (Internet protocol)-based network of its own for calling and feature delivery, engaging the regular phone network only when a FiOS Digital Voice customer needs to call a user who's on the traditional network - or vice versa.  Otherwise, it's a completely new system that leverages the features of IP-based call control and will be able to leverage the many features and innovations that will be devised in the future.  IP is a data format used by the Internet but actually represents a universal format that allows integration between IP-enabled systems, hardware and software.

Today, when callers using a traditional phone network pick up the phone to make a call, they activate a dedicated circuit into the public phone system and then dial a number to give a computerized switching system instruction about whom to call. The switching system then uses a data link to set up and deliver the call over Verizon's or another carrier's circuit-switched network.

Before FiOS Digital Voice, a call made on a FiOS line was processed almost the same way.  The only difference was that the link from the customer to the switching central office was carried over the FiOS fiber. 

Fios by Verizon changes all that.

Right at the home, in the Optical Network Terminal, or ONT, that provides FiOS services in the home, the call is created using a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) process built into the ONT.  In IP talk, a "session" is an activity using IP language and signals the IP network that a phone call is being made.

The SIP signaling is made over Verizon's private IP-based network to new "softswitches," which provide the service and control to establish voice communications to other FiOS Digital Voice customers, or to traditional phone customers.  These advanced softswitches also provide for all of the new features that can be applied to the call. (See list in main release).

"Verizon's long-haul network had already run on packet-switching technology," said Eric J. Bruno, vice president for Verizon consumer product management and development.  "What FiOS Digital Voice does is push that functionality and design right to the home for better efficiency and to add new features to the design."  

Beyond the calling-oriented functionality, there is future magic in IP telephony. Because it is IP-based, many other IP-based systems can be interconnected with it.  For instance, a contact list on a computer can be synced to the phone line and specific features activated based on cross play between the ringing phone and the contact name and number.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, NASDAQ:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 93 million customers nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 217,000 and last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $107 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.