If you've never heard of VoIP, get ready to change the way
you think about Local and long-distance phone calls. VoIP,
or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a method for taking analog
audio signals, like the kind you hear when you talk on the
phone, and turning them into digital data that can be transmitted
over the Internet.
How is this useful? VoIP can turn a standard Internet connection
into a way to place phone calls. By using VoIP software to
make Internet phone calls, you are bypassing the phone company
(and its charges) entirely.
VoIP is a revolutionary technology that has the potential
to completely rework the world's phone systems. Above all
else, VoIP is basically a clever "reinvention of the wheel."
the potential of this emerging technology, will more than
likely one day replace the traditional phone system entirely.
The interesting thing about VoIP is that there is not just
one way to place a call. There are different "flavors" of
VoIP service in common use today:
• IP Phones
- These specialized phones look just like normal phones with
a handset, cradle and buttons. But instead of having the standard
RJ-11 phone connectors, IP phones have an RJ-45 Ethernet connector.
IP phones connect directly to your router and have all the
hardware and software necessary right onboard to handle the
IP call. Soon, Wi-Fi IP phones will be available, allowing
subscribing callers to make VoIP calls from any Wi-Fi hot
- This is certainly the easiest way to use VoIP. You don't
even have to pay for long-distance calls. All you need is
the software, a microphone, speakers, a sound card and an
Internet connection, preferably a fast one like you would
get through a cable or DSL modem. Except for your normal monthly
ISP fee, there is usually no charge for computer-to-computer
calls, no matter the distance.
More and more businesses are installing VoIP systems, and
the technology will continue to grow in popularity as it makes
its way into our homes.
The Forrester Research Group predicts that nearly 5 million
U.S. households will have VoIP phone service by the end of
2006. Perhaps the biggest draws to VoIP for the home and business
users that are making the switch are price and flexibility.
With VoIP, you can make a call from anywhere you have broadband
connectivity. Since the IP phones broadcast their info over
the Internet, they can be administered by the provider anywhere
there is a connection. So business travelers can take their
phones with them on trips and always have access to their
office phone. Another alternative is the softphone. A softphone
is client software that loads the VoIP service onto your desktop
or laptop. The softphone has an interface on your screen that
looks like a traditional telephone. As long as you have a
headset/microphone, you can place calls from your laptop anywhere
in the broadband-connected world.