VOIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, permits you to use your internet broadband connection to place phone calls, either local or international, to save you both cost and time when making long distance phone calls.
Having paid the traditional phone bills for multiple years, I decided a few months ago that VOIP was for me and contacted one of the many companies who now provide it, with a view to buying and installing it.
VOIP can be used in one of three ways.
You may connect your normal telephone using a special adaptor, download software, some of it free, and use your computer, or in fact may use a special telephone which is made for the internet,
Using your regular home telephone.
To use your regular home phone, which many people opt to do for convenience and cost sake, you must purchase and use an analog adaptor for your phone. This will convert the signal of a normal phone (that is to say, the analog signal that is your voice) into a digital signal that your computer can recognize. Ask your VOIP provider if they will offer one of these services. In most cases since this is the preferred method of new users, they will provide the adaptor .Be certain to ask prior to signing up for a service if you are permitted to use your own phone.
Connect to the VOIP using an IP Telephone.
This is a special phone that is used specifically for VOIP. You don’t need a separate ata. Everything that you need to use your own internet connection as a phone service to make local and long distance calls will be included with your service. Instead of a normal looking phone jack you will use an Ethernet connection much as what connects you to connector, it uses an Ethernet connection to plug into your router.
Making a Connection using your Computer.
Provided that your computer has a microphone, speakers and sound card as well as a broadband, or high speed internet connection you can use your computer for voip without a special adaptor or phone.
Many companies such as Yahoo , Earthlink or several others offer low cost or completely free software that permits you to use your computer as is to make phone calls.
This method is usually free of cost, with some simple exceptions, that being what it costs you to connect to the internet through your service provider. Earthlink provides a service that is free for the user, including both software and service at no cost to you.
The software tends to be rather proprietary however so the biggest hitch in the wagon is that in many cases with the free services you may only .talk with those who also use the same free software and service(i.e. Earthline users could not talk with Yahoo users)
I personally went with Vonage and purchased a dual purpose adapter which functions as a phone adapter but also a 4 port wireless router, which can also be combined with another router, either wireless or wired, to feed the extra computers in your home.
The hookup was straightforward and simple, i connected the cable to the adapter, connected the phone to the adapter, ran the cat 5 to the modem from the adapter and connected my computers.
Having a couple computers that are not Windows there were some minimal issues making the network connections but they were not lengthy to sort out and in no time flat the phone and all three computers were up and operational on the network again. The phone works well, the service has proven to be very good and the bill is about half what I paid with a traditional phone company.
I’ve had people ask me if it has slowed my connection at all, and the answer to that is no, it has not in any way compromised my internet connection, which is a cable modem, at about 5 megs per second speed. Post connection when doing a speed check, it has not changed in any significant way.