There are still people puzzled by the fact that we have a Manchester phone number which they can use to contact us. The world of Internet telephony remains a mystery to a few.
The principle is straight forward, voice calls can be translated into digital data and transmitted over the Internet just like any other form of information. The digital data is then linked back to the telephone system at the receiving end. We don’t need to know how it works just that it does.
The benefits of making calls over the Internet are the hugely reduced costs but what do you need to take advantage of this saving? First off a broadband Internet connection and a router. That means you need some form of ADSL account be that via a fixed line, WIMAX or WiFi. Be aware though, no matter what some might tell you, the fact is, the faster the connection, the clearer your calls will be.
Then you need a VOIP account which you can get for free from companies like VoipTalk. This type of account will allow you to make calls to other Voiptalk users free of charge and for example, to UK landline numbers for 1p per minute. Standard voip accounts are pay as you go so you only pay for the calls you make with no connection charge or monthly rental. However, for an extra £2.99 per month you can have a UK number from a choice of 650 towns which will reduce the cost of your friends calling you.
Finally you need a VOIP phone which connects to one of the ports on your Internet router. These are not to be confused with USB phones that connect to your computer and only work when the computer is switched on. Voiptalk offer a range of suitable phones on their site.
There is a downside to all this and that is, if the electricity is cut then the phone will go dead. It is therefore as well to have a fixed line phone or a mobile for emergency calls.