Have you heard all the buzz about VoIP?
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is an emerging technology which allows you to make telephone calls over the Internet – many times for free. It is already starting to replace existing telephone networks, with many people and businesses choosing to cancel their traditional phone line and use VoIP instead. Why? Price. Consumer are finding that they can save a lot of money using VoIP technologies.
Originally developed to provide voice communication between computer users in different locations, in recent years, VoIP has been further developed into a telephone network in its own right. People using VoIP can call any telephone anywhere in the world and can receive calls on telephone sets connected to the Internet.
Currently, there are quite a few VoIP services available for consumers to choose from. Some of these still rely on PC-to-PC connections but many VoIP providers offer other services such as PC-to-phone and phone-to-phone connection.
In order to use VoIP, both parties need a broadband connection. This is a high-speed Internet connection usually provided by a cable or DSL modem- broadband modems are usually used to connect computers to the Internet.
The simplest form of VoIP is a computer-to-computer voice connection. This is also the type of connection which allows users to make free phone calls over the Internet.
All that is required to make your first free call over the Internet is a computer, a headset consisting of earphones and microphone, and VoIP software. The VoIP software can be downloaded from the service provider's site. The best thing is that most software packages are free and allow you to connect to any computer running the same software.
There is no charge for this type of connection and calls can be made to anywhere in the world free of charge. If you choose you could also use an Internet telephone that plugs into the sound card or USB port on your computer. However, this is an additional expense which is really not necessary.
Until recently, the major disadvantage with computer-to-computer calls was that both parties had to have the same kind of software installed in order to make a connection; but things are changing now and emerging technology is beginning to allow users to make calls to users utilizing different VoIP software. Almost every software package, however, has the ability to connect with landline or cellular phones.
How It Works
Although each VoIP software package is different, most VoIP software function the same way. Usually, you can call another person on the network by typing in their user name or number. If that person is online they will see a popup box alerting them that you want to talk. The other party can see who is calling and can choose to either accept or reject the call.
Before the popup appears, however, there has already been some communication between the two computers. The VoIP software has information about the speed of your Internet connection and the type of code that can be used to compress and decompress audio data. When a call request is made, both computers negotiate which code is going to be used to make allowances for the connection speed.
Other types of VoIP Services are available which allow you to make PC-to-Phone connections, and also calls that do not involve the use of your computer at all. Although these premium services vary in price, in most cases by using VoIP technology you will be saving a significant amount of money on your phone bills each month.
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