VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is becoming increasingly popular as many people seek to stay in touch with friends and family while cutting their telephone bills. Yet, many people have still not gotten on the VoIP bandwagon for fears that it is either too complicated or will not provide high-quality calls. These concerns are largely unfounded as VoIP is both easy to use and the quality of the calls is largely indistinguishable from a regular landline. The key to convincing people that VoIP is a sound investment is by showing them the variety of ways VoIP can be used. We will look at six simple ways to use VoIP so you can start connecting with friends and family quicker and cheaper.
Instant messengers, such as Google Talk, MSN messenger, and Yahoo Messenger, are a simple way for people who have never used VoIP before to become acquainted with the technology. Using an instant messenger allows you to call landline and mobile phones through the internet, making it ideal for those who are already familiar with messenger software and want to get in touch with those who do not have access to a telephone. On the downside, this method requires you to be at a PC and thus does not really feel like a true telephone call.
For practical purposes, soft phones don’t differ much from instant messengers. From a consumer perspective, they still have the look and feel of an instant messenger device, but the difference is that these programs are more specialized in VoIP communication. Again, they are cheap and simple to use, but you will still be tied to your computer if you want to make a VoIP call.
PC based IP Phones
These devices, such as Skype Phone and Magicjack, look similar to a regular telephone, and thus give you the feel of making an actual call. Typically they will need to be plugged into a USB port, meaning that you will still need a computer in order to make the call.
Analog Telephone Adapters (ATA)
An ATA is where we finally get away from the computer and starting making calls that resemble traditional telephone calls. ATA connects your traditional analog telephone to VoIP, meaning you can make calls over this telephone without the need of a computer. On the downside, it costs a bit extra and does require additional hardware.
IP phones are similar to ATA phones, but instead of upgrading your existing telephone using ATA, these phones come with ATA built in. As such, they are already manufactured to be able to make calls using VoIP. They are capable of both wired and wireless connectivity, so you will be able to use them all around the home.
Your Regular Telephone
Using your regular telephone or mobile is the most convenient way to use VoIP. This method requires no additional equipment, although it can be more expensive. You will need to find a provider to make such a call, many of which can be compared using services such as GetVOIP. To make a call over VoIP you dial the access number, then enter your PIN, and then dial the number you want to reach. Using your regular telephone gives you the most freedom, and it does not require a computer to complete calls.
These six ways of using VoIP show just how versatile this service is. With so many different ways to make cheap local and long-distance calls, there’s no longer any reason why people should not be taking advantage of this great technology.
Written by Paul Singleton