I have been meaning to write about VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) for awhile, and decided it was finally time.
For those of you who have never heard of it, let me explain. VoIP is the method of being able to talk over the internet via your internet connection. Let me just say, if you are on a dial up connection, don’t even bother pondering this. If you have a good broadband connection though, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be looking into this! I am sure you are now asking yourself “But why should I care?” and that has an easy answer, it is dirt cheap phone calling.
There are a few different ways you can go about using this. There are pay services you can go through with either Vonage or AT&T CallVantage. These services will act like an actual phone line and have a monthly fee for having them. They will, however, give you free local and long distance phone calls and they will give you killer low rates for international calls. They also will allow you to either use special internet phones or use adapters to use your current phones.
To me though, the most exciting program is through the oddly named Skype.com. It works like an instant messenger program, but will also allow you to talk via voice to whoever else has the program. You can either use your computers built in microphone and speakers, or get a headset to use. To talk to someone else with the program is 100% free! This has been heaven sent for me as of late as I am setting up a new company with partners in various locations. It has worked like a charm for us. And if you want to call someone’s normal phone, you can do that also for about $.03 a minute. I have made numerous phone calls to regular land lines and cell phones with it, and they work with no noticeable problems. If you are going to use this program, I *highly* recommend as your headset the Plantronics DSP-100 Headset. I have purchased one for home and one for work I am so happy with it.
So do some of your own research, see what will work for you, but I really think this is the future of telephoning. Traditional land lines are going to become rarer and rarer as time goes on.