VoIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol is an emerging technology that with the right equipment and a provider, enables voice communications or the audio content of a phone conversation to be transmitted in digital form over the internet. The advantage of this is that a standard telephone line is not required for VoIP.
As VoIP is an ever evolving technology, it is important to familiarize oneself in latest developments prior to making a commitment to a particular phone, provider or setup.
But let’s look at some of the basics and how practically anyone can give this technology a ‘run’ without dipping deep into the pockets.
VoIP has a range of options and abilities depending on the service and equipment utilized. These include:
Given that this is Voice over Internet, it stands to reason that an internet connection is necessary – albeit one of high speed (broadband).
Depending on the service being utilized it may be as simple as a microphone, or a VoIP telephone, or an adaptor that a normal phone can plug into with the adaptor plugging into an Ethernet connection.
So How Can I Make Calls for Free?
There is a range of free VOIP software on the internet. A well know one is Skype at www.skype.com where users can make calls to landlines and mobiles for a fee but call each other for free.
Ok so you see the limitation here. To get free calls the person you wish to contact also needs to be a user of the same service. Whilst this is true, there are ways of obtaining very low cost calls through a number of providers. This said, the free services like Skype are well worthwhile for someone who wishes to experiment at no cost.
Vonage is a major VoIP provider and AT&T are also offering services. There are many others some of which I have listed below with no particular bias:
For Australia several websites of VoIP providers are listed below:
VoiPStunt – Free International Calls to a Range of Countries At the time of writing, VoiPStunt were providing free software which allows free calls between peers. However they are also providing free international calls to a list of international countries listed below:
Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela.
Now that’s not a bad list. The catch, a minor one, is that international calls for trial users are limited to one minute. To obtain up to 20 hours of free international calls you will need to top up your account however VoiPStunt state on their website they will not touch these credits so long as you are calling the free destinations. (source – www.voipstunt.com).
Current terms and conditions should be examined prior to engaging any service.
VoIP is an emerging technology with much more to come in the future. Why not enjoy free international and peer phone calls in the meantime.
Author Tim ONeill has an Associate Diploma in Electronic Engineering. For further information, books and VoIP items, visit http://www.voipworking4you.info .