Beginners Guide to VoIP

With more people communicating in different places around the world, people are turning to VoIP to take advantage of cheap calls to landlines and low-cost mobile calling. VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, which enables users to make cheap calls to landlines or mobile phones through the Internet. If you are already paying for a monthly Internet connection, you can make free or cheap VoIP calls by using VoIP software such as Skype and MO-call from your personal computer, Macs or Linux computers. VoIP has been around for many years but with the access of high-speed broadband and Internet access, VoIP been more commercially available.

How you can use VoIP

    * PC-to-PC - The most popular way to make cheap calls is through a computer. Calls are usually free or fraction of the cost of a normal telephone call and sound is usually near to CD quality. Users need to install relevant VoIP software such as MO-Call or Skype, access to high spend broadband or Internet connection, a microphone and speakers.
    * IP Phone - Looks like a normal telephone but is connected to the Internet rather than the local telephone network using an Ethernet connection.
    * ATA (Analog Telephone Adaptor) - is an adaptor/device that connects standard home telephones to a digital telephone system. This enables users to make normal telephone and VoIP calls.
    * Mobile VoIP - With mobile phones getting more advanced and the popularity of mobile applications or "apps", mobile VoIP has become more useable. Installing applications offered from MO-Call or Skype enables mobile users to take advantage of low VoIP rates.

Benefits

    * Cheaper local and international calls than conventional telephone and mobile networks.
    * Voice, data and video can be integrated, which makes ways of communicating easier.
    * You can assign one phone number for all locations such as a landline number, work number or your mobile phone.

Downsides

    * VoIP calls are usually routed through your computer so a power outage would mean you can't make VoIP calls.
    * Call quality is questionable with some VoIP providers but with faster Internet access now available, sound quality is not really an issue with some providers providing near to CD quality sound.
    * As with any technology security is a concern but ensuring your Internet connection is secure should be sufficient.

Should you use VoIP?

If you are looking to reduce your communication and infrastructure costs than yes but you should consider the following:

    * Shop around for tariffs or price plans that meet your needs and determine whether the VoIP plan will reduce your local or international calling costs.
    * Check your Internet plan/speed and determine whether the plan is sufficient enough to take on the data that VoIP calling uses.
    * Look at the costs needed to buy the relevant equipment you need to set up VoIP.
    * If you have a smart phone, you can enjoy all the benefits of VoIP by installing mobile applications such as Fring, Skype or MO-Call.

Conclusion

It is clear VoIP can be very beneficial to users who are looking to reduce the impact long distance and international calls plays on people's monthly costs, particularly to people who frequently travel aboard as it reduces the costs associated with long distance and international calling.

PC-to-PC VoIP calling still remains the popular way to make VoIP calls and with the recent uptake of smart phones, VoIP providers are introducing mobile apps to push the mobile VoIP revolution forward. With mobile apps like MO-Call or Skype that are currently available, using VoIP on the move is becoming more of a reality. Such mobile apps make it possible for mobile users to avoid the expensive roaming charges that mobile operators charge when overseas or aboard.

It is hard to determine whether VoIP will completely re-define how we communicate but if it continues to bring down communication and infrastructure costs, VoIP will be difficult to overlook by customers and businesses. With the increase uptake of smart phones and the explosion of mobile apps available for mobile phones, it seems using mobile VoIP is the next big thing, which offers all the benefits of low-cost calling, cutting out the expensive roaming charges that mobile network operators demand.



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