Communication! It’s all about communication. The internet has given us a host of new communication channels and technologies, with VoIP being another on the long list, but what exactly is the fuss all about?
Since the dawn of time, we have fostered our need to communicate. From our initial development of speech, to the written word, and in latter years the development of electronic communications and the internet, we are constantly developing new and different ways to keep in touch. Perhaps the two greatest advancements in communications in recent history were the invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876 and the more recent development of e-mail, or electronic mail, over the internet.
There is now a new technology called VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol, sometimes also known as IP telephony or internet telephony), that is set to merge the conventional telephone with the internet and change the way that we make telephone calls in the future. However, if you have a computer and an internet connection, you can make use of this exciting new technology now!
VoIP is available to anyone who has an internet connection (ideally broadband) and allows you to make free voice ‘telephone’ calls over the internet to other computers anywhere in the world. Using VoIP you can even make calls from your computer to fixed telephone lines for a typically reduced cost compared to other telephone service providers.
To run VoIP on your computer, you will need to download a special piece of VoIP software. You will also need to have a pair of speakers and a microphone, or a microphone headset, connected to your computer in order to hear and speak to the other connected party.
There are probably as many flavours of VoIP software as there are ice cream, however, a very popular one at the moment worth trying is Skype (www.skype.com). If both you and your friends and family all have the same VoIP software running on your PC, then you can make free calls to your friends anywhere in the world at anytime, provided your computer is on and connected to the internet. For this reason, VoIP tends to lend itself better for those with broadband / always on internet connections.
If you would like to make the best of your broadband and get free telephone calls, you will need to download a VoIP application. The following links may help: