What Is Internet Telephone?

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Internet telephone service, also known as voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) allows you to make long distance, local and international calls from your computer. Internet telephone services are typically cheaper then a land line phone service, which has caused them to be a popular alternative. Internet telephone service has become more accepted since Internet connections are fast and efficient, with no difference in quality from a cell phone or land line service.

The Technology

  • Internet telephone works by connecting to your high-speed Internet connection. Unfortunately you are unable to make Internet-based calls on dial up. When you speak into your computer's microphone, an adapter (provided by the Internet phone service provider) converts your voice into an Internet signal which travels either into another person's computer or into their phone. If you are making an Internet phone call to another Internet telephone number, your voice will stay converted as an Internet signal. If you are making a land line call, your voice will convert from an Internet signal back into a voice signal.

Equipment

  • In order to effectively make Internet telephone calls, you need a high-speed Internet connection (DSL or cable), a microphone that connects to your computer and an adapter, typically provided by your Internet telephone service provider. The costs for these items are minimal and oftentimes the provider will offer the adapter free of charge.

Cost Effectiveness

  • Internet telephone is inexpensive because land line providers must maintain and pay for the telephone wires on which your voice travels to reach your intended party. Internet connections operate differently and your voice is being converted into a signal that can travel to more destinations at a more cost effective rate.

Challenges

  • If you experience a temporary Internet outage in your area, you will be unable to make phone calls. If you are using a cable broadband connection in an area where there are a lot of people surfing the Internet simultaneously, your connection may not be as clear to the other party. Emergency calls are also a challenge, as you are not tracked and located like you would be when using a regular land line. You can, however, input your address in your Internet phone service in the event of an emergency.

Benefits

  • Internet telephone services allow you to make calls and carry your number with you anywhere you have a high-speed connection. For example, you can take your adapter and connect it to any computer, anywhere in the world where there is high-speed Internet, and you will keep your same phone number. You can also establish second and third lines in your home for your children or business without having to pay costly installation or monthly fees.

References

  • Photo Credit voip image by DXfoto.com from Fotolia.com
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