What is VoIP?
VoIP is an acronym for voice over internet protocol. A VoIP, in essence, is a computer softphone that allows you to make phone calls from your computer to anyone in world, e.g., PC to PC, PC to landlines, or PC to cell phones. The voice signal converts to data packets and travels across internet through a VoIP platform, and then converts back to voice at receiving end of communication exchange. Leading telecom experts are projecting that 75% of world’s communications will be done on VoIP within next several years.
What Kind of Equipment Do I Need?
You will need a computer with internet access and an inexpensive microphone if your computer does not have one built in. Although most VoIP providers require high speed internet connections, there are a few that can be used on dial-up connections.
How Can I Place a Call or Receive a Call?
Basically, same way you would a regular phone, except on your PC. When you download a VoIP line on your computer, a phone usually appears on your screen. The computer phone acts like any other phone in that you can dial numbers on it from a pad, or click on a contact’s pre-programmed name, and press call button. You will then hear phone ringing to party you have called and can talk to them when they accept call, or leave a voicemail if they are not available.
When receiving a call, phone will ring on your computer and you can click to accept call and talk, or let it ring (based on number of rings you have set up) and forward caller to your voicemail.
What Kind of Features Does a VoIP Have?
Typically a VoIP has voicemail with audio capabilities, three-way calling, text messaging, and contacts list. Some VoIPs even have webcam capabilities. In addition, there is usually a button to click that can indicate to others when you are available, unavailable, away, or off line.
Who Can I Call?
Most reputable VoIP solutions providers limit PC to PC calls among their own subscribers for privacy purposes and so that quality of sound is not compromised.