A telephone revolution is taking place. You can potentially save thousands of dollars in personal or business phone calls per year by making them over the Internet.
These calls can be made for free over the Internet if the person at the other end is using the same telephone computer software, or a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) hardware device.
Yes, that's correct, free phone calls anywhere in the world! Well, not quite, you need an Internet connected computer. The sound quality isn't always prefect, but its getting there. There are a number of ways of doing this.
Method One: (A no cost way to try it.)
You will need an Internet connected computer, preferably connected via a high speed broadband connection, to get the best results. Then you will need to download and install one of the free VOIP software packages. Skye is probably the best known at present.
It can be downloaded from, http://www.skype.com
Skype has Linux, Windows, and Apple Mac versions available. Then you will need to have a microphone head set. You can use a desktop mic, and your computer speakers but this tends to create echo problems down the line.
Method Two: (You're committed)
You will need to buy a VOIP hardware device. ( Some broadband modems have a VOIP device already built in.) Call quality can be an issue if your broadband service is not that fast, or there is a lot of traffic on the Internet.
The advantages of these devices over the software Skype method above is that the computer doesn't need to be on. You simply plug another phone, or cordless phone into the VOIP hardware device, and connect it to your broadband router or modem.
(Skype does provide a Skype phone that works the same as any stand alone VOIP box. Because Skype is an international service, calls to ordinary phones are international, therefore there are call charges, except for Skype to Skype calls which are free.)
As long as the modem / router is connected, you can make and receive calls. Plus, the hardware VOIP systems are more compatible with other VOIP systems, which means you can make free calls to friends and businesses that have these devices. You will need to know their VOIP device phone number, or ID to do this.
Yes, there are fees to phone someone's normal phone, or mobile. Costs vary between the different systems, so shop around, and do some research before committing to any of them.
Method Three: (Naked VOIP, calls all through broadband phone.)
All phone calls in, and out are made through your Naked VOIP broadband system! Naked VOIP services are new and are now becoming available as broadband speeds increase. Naked VOIP services are only available on Broadband 2, or faster broadband services. These Naked VOIP services can allow free local, or national phone calls through the VOIP system to normal phones.
(Be aware that not all Naked VOIP services may allow free local, or national phone calls through their Naked VOIP system, mine does.)
Naked VOIP also allows you to ditch the phone rental charges, because there is no need for a normal phone connection anymore. This means extra savings. There are still charges for Naked VOIP calls to International, and Mobile phones through Naked VOIP.
Naked VOIP system set up can mean your phone system will be down for a few days while they put the new equipment in the exchange and get it up, and working. You may also have compatibility issues using older broadband modems, and VOIP hardware with the new Naked VOIP system. This could mean a few more days of trouble shooting until it all works. Make sure you have some alternate way of communicating with the Naked VOIP service provider to get technical help if you have set up issues, or you will be stuck with not phone for an extended period of time!
Tell friends, and relatives that the system may be down for a while. You should at least be able to get emails, even if the VOIP phone is not working quite right for a while.
International call rates, and mobile calls through these systems to an ordinary phone vary from country to country. VOIP service companies provide call rate lists on their web sites.
Because I was able to ditch my phone line rental, and can now get free local and national calls I have probably saved approximately AU $1000 in the first year. This has value added my ADSL broadband system we already pay for.
If you don't have a broadband Internet connection, and only make a few dollars worth of calls a month on an ordinary phone, it's not much point setting up one of these systems!
© Peter Daley 2010
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