If you've never heard of
Internet Telephony, get ready to change the way you think about long-distance
phone calls. Internet Telephony, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a method
for taking analog audio signals, like the kind you hear when you talk on the phone,
and turning them into digital data that can be transmitted over the Internet.
How is this useful? Internet Telephony can turn a standard Internet connection
into a way to place free phone calls. The practical upshot of this is that by
using some of the free Internet Telephony software that is available to make Internet
phone calls, you are bypassing the phone company (and its charges) entirely.
Internet Telephony is a revolutionary
technology that has the potential to completely rework the world's phone systems.
Internet Telephony providers like Vonage have already been around for a little
while and are growing steadily. Major carriers like AT&T are already setting
up Internet Telephony calling plans in several markets around the United States,
and the FCC is looking seriously at the potential ramifications of Internet Telephony
Above all else, Internet Telephony is basically a clever "reinvention
of the wheel." In this article, we'll explore the principles behind Internet
Telephony, its applications and the potential of this emerging technology, which
will more than likely one day replace the traditional phone system entirely.
The interesting thing about Internet
Telephony is that there is not just one way to place a call.
are three different "flavors" of Internet Telephony service in common
ATA - The simplest and most common way is through the use
of a device called an ATA (analog telephone adaptor). The ATA allows you to connect
a standard phone to your computer or your Internet connection for use with Internet
The ATA is an analog-to-digital
converter. It takes the analog signal from your traditional phone and converts
it into digital data for transmission over the Internet. Providers like Vonage
and AT&T CallVantage are bundling ATAs free with their service. You simply
crack the ATA out of the box, plug the cable from your phone that would normally
go in the wall socket into the ATA, and you're ready to make Internet Telephony
calls. Some ATAs may ship with additional software that is loaded onto the host
computer to configure it; but in any case, it is a very straightforward setup.
IP Phones - These
specialized phones look just like normal phones with a handset, cradle and buttons.
But instead of having the standard RJ-11 phone connectors, IP phones have an RJ-45
Ethernet connector. IP phones connect directly to your router and have all the
hardware and software necessary right onboard to handle the IP call. Wi-Fi phones
allow subscribing callers to make Internet Telephony calls from any Wi-Fi hot
- This is certainly the easiest way to use Internet Telephony. You don't even
have to pay for long-distance calls. There are several companies offering free
or very low-cost software that you can use for this type of Internet Telephony.
All you need is the software, a microphone, speakers, a sound card and an Internet
connection, preferably a fast one like you would get through a cable or DSL modem.
Except for your normal monthly ISP fee, there is usually no charge for computer-to-computer
calls, no matter the distance.
you're interested in trying Internet Telephony, then you should check out some
of the free Internet Telephony software available on the Internet. You should
be able to download and set it up in about three to five minutes. Get a friend
to download the software, too, and you can start tinkering with Internet Telephony
to get a feel for how it works.
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