Thanks to the expanding availability of high speed Internet connections, VOIP
(Voice over Internet Protocol) is finally beginning to make inroads in the
telephone service market. This is good for consumers and businesses because VOIP
service is typically cheaper than a traditional phone line.
How does VOIP work?
VOIP is basically the process of sending and receiving voice messages over the
Internet. The analog audio signal is converted into digital form, transmitted
over the Internet to its destination and then converted back in to analog form
so the recipient can hear it.
Previously, slow and unreliable Internet connections made VOIP difficult to use
with any acceptable level of satisfaction, but the increasing availability of
broadband in many areas now make it a viable option for millions.
What hardware is needed for VOIP service?
There are basically two ways to communicate using VOIP:
A VOIP phone is a telephone that has the analog to digital converter built-in.
An ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter) is a device that converts the analog signal
from a regular phone into digital form and vice versa.
- with a VOIP phone
- with a traditional telephone connected to an ATA
The method that you use will depend primarily upon which VOIP service provider
Who are some of the major VOIP service providers?
There are dozens of VOIP service providers serving many countries. Here are a
few of the largest and best known:
- Vonage is the largest and perhaps the best known provider of VOIP
service. They can supply you with the needed equipment and their service plans
start at just $14.99 per month.
- AT&T CallVantage offers unlimited local and long distance calling in the U.S. and to Canada.
- BroadVoice offers their Unlimited World plan for $19.95. You get unlimited calling to 21 countries including the United States.
- Net2Phone offers a low rate of just $9.99 per month for a plan that
allows you to call anywhere in the US and Canada. The plan includes 300 minutes
and additional minutes are billed at a low per-minute rate.
If you have a fast Internet connection and you want to save money on your phone
bill, you owe it to yourself to consider VOIP service. If you run a business
racks up thousands of minutes of long distance calls per month you should be
able to save big by moving to VOIP!