Call Vancouver Using VoIP

The term 'VoIP' refers to a type of technology that allows voice calls to be routed over the internet. VoIP does not refer to a singular type of internet-based calling service, but rather a general class of services all of which use the internet, instead of normal telephone networks, to complete calls.

Because of this wide variety, how you use VoIP to make an international long distance call to Vancouver depends on the type of VoIP service you have. Each type of VoIP service uses it's own 'dialing' procedure.

Actually, some VoIP 'dialing' methods don't necessarily look like normal dialing you are used to with a mobile or landline phone. So, a more accurate term might be VoIP 'connection' methods. But for simplicity, we'll just use the term 'dialing', even though there may be no actual dialing involved.

To complicate things further, many VoIP providers support more than one 'dialing' method, which means your provider may offer 2 or more VoIP dialing methods for calling Vancouver.

On this page, we recap the main approaches for making an international internet call using VoIP. You will need to check directly with your VoIP provider for specifics of the methods they support.

The term VoIP stands for 'voice over IP'. IP means 'internet protocol', a very basic communications method which helps make the internet work. VoIP is also called 'internet telephony'.

VoIP largely relates to using the internet to make voice calls, but VoIP technology also enables a range of web-enabled communications tools, such a text chat, video calling, screen sharing, file sharing, and many other advanced capabilities. For our purposes here, we'll just focus on the voice part.

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4 Ways to Make a VoIP Internet Call to Vancouver

In general, there are four main ways to make international VoIP calls to Vancouver. In the particulars, there are actually many more than four, but most are some variant of these main types.

  1. Calling card VoIP - Here, you use a regular landline or mobile phone to dial into your provider's VoIP network, much the same way you would when using a calling card.
  2. Web-activated VoIP - With this type of service, you initiate a call via your computer, but then to talk on your regular telephone
  3. Internet phone service - Here you use a VoIP-enabled phone that works much like your regular landline phone, except it connects through your internet connection, not your phone jacks.
  4. VoIP softphone - This is the most common type of VoIP service and focuses around ways of making calls from your PC (or web-enabled smartphone) either to other PCs (or smartphones) and to regular landline or mobile phones.

Below is a review of how these VoIP calling approaches work. Check with your VoIP service provider for specifics on how their service works and what, if any, equipment you will require.

To learn more about VoIP, visit our VoIP calling guide or consult with your service provider.

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1. Calling Card VoIP

Calling card VoIP calls originate and terminate on normal telephones (either landline or mobile). The VoIP part is in the middle - the part that is carrying the call over long distances.

From a dialing perspective, this VoIP approach works just like a calling card and does not involve either a PC or an internet connection.

To use a calling card VoIP service, you dial a local access number or toll-free access number that connects you into your VoIP provider's network. Then, as necessary, you dial your account number, PIN, or other identifying information.

Once you have been verified onto your provider network, you dial your destination phone number in Vancouver and your call will be connected.

You can use this kind of VoIP service to call Vancouver from any landline or mobile phone, including payphones. Since calls are originated and terminated using normal phones, it does not require a PC or an internet connection.


  • None - just dial from any regular landline, mobile, or pay phone

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  • Varies by country - check your local options

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2. Web-Activated VoIP

Like calling card VoIP, web-activated VoIP calls are made on regular telephones (either landline or mobile). However, the 'dialing' method is completely different.

VoIP callback to Vancouver

With 'web-activated VoIP', also known as 'VoIP callback', among other names, you initiate calls from your computer, but then shift over to your regular landline or mobile phone to actually conduct the phone call. Depending on the service, the call might also be initiated via an SMS message or other means.

Basically, it works by you giving your provider two regular phone numbers - your own phone number and the phone number of the person you are calling. Your VoIP provider then 'dials' from their VoIP network back out into the regular phone network to connect to you and your party.

In a sense, web-activated VoIP calls 'start' in the middle reaching out to both end points simultaneously.

To use web-activated VoIP, you go to your VoIP provider's website and enter your phone number and the Vancouver phone number you are calling (the 'origination' and 'destination' numbers, respectively). These can be either landline or mobile phones.

Then you click 'dial' (or similar) and the VoIP provider takes over by dialing both numbers independently from within their VoIP platform causing both phones to ring at roughly the same time. Once both you and your Vancouver party answer your phones, the connection is made and you begin talking normally.

The 'web-activated' part of this type of VoIP can happen in a variety of ways - via a PC as described above, but also through other means, like via SMS messages or via a smartphone with web access. Any means that basically allows you to get the origination and destination numbers to the provider.

Like calling card VoIP, the VoIP part of this type of service is in the long haul transport of the call.


  • Generally, a PC or smartphone (e.g., iPhone) with internet access is required, but some services allow call activation via SMS or other methods

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3. Internet Phone Service

With VoIP digital phone service, you install a device that enables you to connect your regular telephone (or a specialized VoIP phone) to your internet connection.

The connecting device or adapter comes in several varieties and may be called an 'ATA', an 'analog telephone adapter', a 'VoIP phone adapter', an 'internet phone adapter' or something similar. In most cases, what it does is that it splits your broadband internet connection between your computer and your new VoIP service.

Vancouver VoIP phone service

Since voice calls are relatively low 'bandwidth', you will generally see no impact on your internet connection - unless you are using a dial-up connection, in which case internet phone service probably isn't a good fit for you.

Once installed, the ATA device VoIP-enables your regular landline phone and/or specialized VoIP phones. It depends on the service, but generally speaking, the result is that you will have converted your home phone from one that works over telephone networks to one that works over the internet.

To use this type of service to make an internet call to Vancouver, you would dial the destination Vancouver telephone number more or less as you would from a regular phone. The call will be automatically routed over a VoIP network to Vancouver via your internet connection. At the other end, your destination party will receive the call on their regular phone as they would normally.

Depending on the service, you will likely also be able to set up speed dial numbers and/or other short cuts for dialing.

Once in place, you don't need to dial special access codes or PINs. However, in some cases where you maintain both your original landline service and the new VoIP service, you may need to designate which calls get routed over what service.

Internet phone service is known by a variety of other names, including 'digital phone service'.


  • Internet connection, preferably broadband
  • Internet phone adapter (may be supplied by your provider or you may to buy separately via Amazon or other source)
  • Set up time to install and connect the phone adapter

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  • Providers vary by country - check your local options
  • Not available in all countries

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4. VoIP Softphone

VoIP softphones or VoIP 'clients' are the most common kind of VoIP service. Usually they are installed on and work from your PC. The same approach can be used with a web-enabled smartphone.

Generally, this type of VoIP service allows you to make 2 kinds of calls:

  • PC-to-PC calls where the call remains on the internet the entire time
  • PC-to-Phone calls where the call originates on a PC, but terminates on a regular landline or mobile phone
VoIP softphone call to Vancouver

In many cases, you can make completely free international phone calls using the PC-to-PC option (as long as both parties are using the same VoIP software). The PC-to-Phone option is generally not free, but per minute rates are sure to be much lower than normal landline or mobile phone rates.

To set up a VoIP softphone service, you need to download and install a software program from your VoIP provider's website. If you want to talk via a headset or other device, you may also need to buy that, too. You can also buy a specialized USB phone and other VoIP phones, among other equipment, if it suits you.

Once you have the pieces in place, you can create an address book with the telephone numbers of the people you want to call in Vancouver and elsewhere.

To make calls, you open the VoIP softphone, find the person in your address book, and click on their name to initiate a call. Your VoIP provider routes the call to Vancouver and your party can answers - either on their computer using the same VoIP service or on their regular landline or mobile phone if you have bought a paid service plan that allows outbound calling to regular phones.

These types of VoIP services are often free for most in-network calls (i.e., calls to other people on the same VoIP service), but they charge you for dialing to or receiving calls from regular landline or mobile phones that are 'outside' the VoIP network.

As well, these types of services are usually not cross-compatible. In other words, you can't speak to a person using VoIP Service Y if you are using VoIP Service X.


  • Personal computer or web-enabled smartphone
  • Internet connection, preferably broadband
  • VoIP softphone program (downloaded and installed from your VoIP provider's website)
  • Set-up time to configure the software and create an address book
  • USB or similar headset for your computer (optional)

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If you have problems, please check directly with your VoIP provider for support. Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to assist you.

VoIP Notes

  • The above overview is a simplified look at the options. In reality, there are numerous flavors of VoIP calling - and many VoIP service providers offer two or more of the above calling options. As well, the VoIP field is evolving rapidly - both in terms of the technology and companies involved - so you will need to look at the specific options provided by any potential vendor to assure they will work for you.
  • VoIP calling services use the internet to complete phone calls. In some cases, internet calls may not deliver the same level of call quality as normal telephone service. This is because the internet operates in a shared environment whereas telephone networks are private and designed for high performance and reliability. In many cases, you won't notice a difference, but performance can vary by location, by carrier, and by time of day, among other factors. VoIP call quality is improving all the time and is generally adequate for many purposes, but it may not suffice for critical business or other calls - at least not without buying a professional grade business VoIP plan.

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