The internet has opened a lot of possibilities for common folks like you and me, and even for companies and businesses through the availability of free information everywhere on the globe. Now, in this almost perfect scenario – one issue is starting to catch fire and is starting to gain traction nowadays: online censorship.
Online censorship imposes restrictions on what information can be accessed or viewed on the internet. Some governments and organizations make use of internet censorship to restrict access to copyrighted information and those which are considered as harmful or sensitive content. However, as this tool can be very selective and specific in its use, it can also be utilized as a propaganda method to promote certain religions and/or political agendas.
For those making off a living on the internet, which is pretty much almost everybody nowadays, internet censorships can deal a big blow on your day-to-day activities. Let’s take for example those who are always traveling or those who are working from home. As the internet can easily provide the communication tools (Skype, Viber, social media, etc.) to cater for our work/business needs, living in a country where online censorship is implemented (or is soon-to-be implemented) can be a major problem. Not only will it hinder business processes, it will also limit our free access and use of the internet for our enjoyment. In this post, we will focus on the use of VoIPs which is quite important in certain industries (i.e. customer service, marketing, consultancy, freelancing), but is generally integrated in all types of business activities.
What is a VoIP?
VoIP stands for voice over internet protocol. It is an alternative method to make phone calls that can be very cheap or entirely free. However, the ‘phone’ part is always not there anymore, as you can communicate nowadays without a telephone set or a hard phone. Think: Skype, WhatsApp, Google Phone, Google Group Chat, Facebook video and voice chat, and many more. To say the least, VoIPs are considered to be the most successful technology of the last decade.
Why Do Some Regions Restrict VoIP Services Anyway?
The answer to the question can be one or a combination of the following:
- There are telecommunication monopolies in a country that are scared to lose revenue because of VoIPs
- Some governments do not like the fact that Skype calls are harder to track
- Other bureaucratic issues that can hinder the operations or licensing of VoIP providers in a country
Which Countries Restrict VoIP Access?
Here is a shortlist of the countries which restrict VoIP services. However, the ban may not be in place continuously as most of these countries enforce or have enforced them during a specific period of time (i.e. political turmoil or crises).
- Various Caribbean countries
- North & South Korea
- The United Arab Emirates
As the list stands, remember that there’s also a possibility that other countries may also enforce restrictions on VoIP services, but hopefully not soon!
Why Use a VPN for VoIP
Through a VPN service such as VPN Surf you can create a private, “encrypted” tunnel on your network through which your VoIP traffic will be redirected and secured. In effect, you can bypass firewall restrictions and such, enabling you to make the calls you want with a VoIP. Here are some of the notable advantages of getting a VPN service on your network:
- Your VPN will mask your original IP address which ensures your anonymity online
- You can get better call rates with your VoIP app when making international calls depending on the location you set your VPN to
- You can enjoy enhanced security and ensure the privacy of your calls from third-party users, your ISP, and even from the Government!
- You will be free from “bandwidth throttling” in case your ISP notices that you make calls that last for hours and hours!
- You can enjoy fast and stable network speeds, if you connect to a VPN server closest to your country or current location
How do I setup my VPN s VoIP?
On PC and Mac, it’s as simple as installing a VPN client, and then connecting to a VPN server, and you’re good to go!
However, on Linux, it is possible to configure a VPN as well.
For your mobile device, you’ll just need to choose a VPN provider which offers mobile app versions of their service.
If you would like to set up a complete VoIP access for your office or shared private online workspace, it’s a good idea to set up a VPN on a router that has a firmware which allows for this type of configuration such as DD-WRT or Tomato-enabled routers.
As a general rule, it would be great to bring this up in the discussion with your chosen VPN provider so they may assist you with the setup of their services according to your unique needs.
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