TUCOWS ARTICLE

Tell Me About... VoIP - Part 1

Part 1 of a two-part article on VoIP, the "Voice over Internet Protocol" phone service. Check it out.
Published: Aug 17, 2006
Author: Michael E, Callahan
Related OS: Windows
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VoIP - Part 1

by Michael E. Callahan aka Dr. File Finder


This question submitted by Dana Harvey, Ron Bailey, Jessica Wallace,Candice Hudson, Walter Johnson and numerous others

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. From allI've been able to read VoIP technology is expanding at an amazing rate.So is the number of VoIP users. The idea is simple really. You send yourvoice communications over the Internet. In effect you're able to makephone calls to other parties around the world. For free. There arealready a number of software programs that let users talk for free.These include:

to name just a few. If you do a search here on Tucows using Voipyou'll see a complete listing of VoIP-related programs.Skype, forexample, is one that I've used to make "calls" across the US. I evenbought a VoIP phone to make this easier since I get bugged by wearing aheadset. What is a VoIP phone you ask? It looks pretty much like aregular phone only it's designed for communication only over theInternet.

Now, don't run out an buy a VoIP phone just yet. VoIP works on abroadband Internet connection so those using dial-up can't use it. Ifyou do have a high-speed connection, however, you can try VoIP yourselfusing software and a microphone or headset. By the looks of itVoIP is going to continue to grow and expand.

You may have seen commercials for Vonage and that's a VoIPphone service that's been around for a few year now. I've read thatother companies, like AT&T, are also creating VoIP phone services. Currently there are three (3) ways to use VoIP. Computer ToComputer is one way that's very simple. Just install the softwareand use microphone and speakers. You can call friends and family whohave the same setup. To the best of my knowledge there is no charge forany computer to computer calls.

ATA, which stands for "Analog Telephone Adaptor", is theeasiest to use. This system lets you hook your regular phone up to yourcomputer so you can make VoIP calls. The adaptor converts your analogtelephone conversation into digital format and sends it out over theInternet. A friend of mine told me that Vonage gave him ATA's free whenhe signed up for their VoIP service. Very easy to setup.

The third way to use VoIP is via IP Phones, which look like aregular phone with the exception that they can't plug into a "phonejack". Instead they plug into a router and give you access to VoIP.

VoIP makes sense for a lot of reasons. For one, you can have itwherever you have an Internet connection. There are no wires to run, no"telephone poles" to sink, no switches. If you have Internetconnectivity you can take your so-called "home phone" with youwhen you travel. There's also what's called a "softphone" thatputs VoIP service on your computer be it a desktop or laptop. It lookslike a phone and you can dial right from the screen.

This concludes part one of this two-part series on VoIP. Comeback next week when we'll finish up. I hope you'll join me then.

I'd like to thank Dana Harvey, Ron Bailey, Jessica Wallace,Candice Hudson, Walter Johnson and numerous others for askingthis question.

If you have a question on any technology topic that you'd like someoneto tell you about you can submit it via email by clicking HERE You will not receive a reply, but all topics will be considered.



About Michael E, Callahan

Michael E. Callahan, known around the world by the trademarked name Dr. File Finder, is regarded as the world's leading expert on shareware. Dr. File Finder works with software programs and developers full-time, and in the average year he evaluates 10,000 programs. Since 1982 he has evaluated over 250,000 software and hardware products. Mr. Callahan began evaluating software online in 1982 and no one has been at it longer. He currently works doing online PR and marketing for software companies, and is the Senior Content Producer for Butterscotch.Com.

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