For a web-based audio conference, you will need a computer with an Internet connection, a way to hear and be heard, a video camera for being seen; and the software chosen by the conference moderator.
Your Web browser must be Java-equipped, and your Internet connection must be 56 kbps or faster. Any cable or DSL hookup is good (never use dial-up for web conferencing. )
Audio Conferencing Phones
For your audio linkup, you can either use an Internet-based technology called VoIP, or a telephone, depending on the software your conference is using. VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. It is like a telephone, but instead of being sent analogically through the phone lines, audio is sent digitally via the Internet, at a cost much lower than traditional long distance. In either case, it is recommended that you utilize a comfortable headset with earphones and a microphone. That way, your hands will be free, you will be more comfortable, and your face will be seen by the web cam.
Audio Conferencing Cameras
To be seen by the other users in the web conference, you will need a web cam. Test out the angle and lighting in advance to make sure you are showing up well. Be sure to wear a suit, just as you would in the real world. Relax and smile.
Audio Conferencing Software
Your software can be any of a number of audio conferencing programs. Every user must have the same program or “interface" in order for it to work. Microsoft NetMeeting and GnomeMeeting are two such programs.
Audio Conferencing the Old Fashioned Way
The other way to do audio conferencing is in a group situation. There is a television, a speakerphone or some other communication device, and perhaps some collaborative software. As personal and office computers become more and more powerful, and now that employees or group members have access to such gadgets as web cameras and headsets, audio conferencing will continue to shift to this more economical way of conferencing.
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