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VoIP Devices 101

Making long distance phone calls usually means that you have to commit to a long distance carrier through your phone company, and pay often steep per-minute charges and fees just to call a friend or loved one. Often, the cost of the phone call depends on the day and time of the day that you are making it, as well as the location you are calling to. The minutes you talk add up quickly, and the monthly long distance bill can be a shock to your system and your bank account. Fortunately, there is an exciting technology that is gives you the option of saying goodbye to traditional long distance for good.

It is VOIP is or Voice Over Internet Protocol, and it's in the process of changing the face of long-distance telephone systems forever. VOIP works by taking analog audio systems and converting them into digital data, which can be sent over the Internet. This means that your kitchen telephone could possibly become obsolete. It will not be the only place to call friends and family that live far away. VOIP can make your Internet connection, and your home computer, the place that you make your long-distance phone calls - free of charge. Because you use VOIP devices and software that are widely available, the phone company is not involved. No phone company means that there are no hefty long-distance charges for you to pay. VOIP is a convenient and affordable way to keep in touch with those who live far away from you.

There are several types of VOIP devices available that can be used to place calls from your home computer. They are relatively simple to use, and often cost very little, if anything at all, to implement. They are all commonly in use, and each provides a slightly different take on this exciting technology. The most common device used in VOIP service currently is the ATA, or Analog Telephone Adapter. This VOIP device allows you to hook your typical telephone up to your home computer Internet connection. This device converts the analog audio signal from the phone and makes it possible to use over the Internet by converting it to transmittable digital data. The ATA is simple for anyone to use. Just plug the cord from your home phone that would usually go into the wall jack into the ATA, and it is set up for you to call anyone anywhere in the world.

Another type of VOIP device is the IP, or Internet Protocol, phone. An IP phone looks like a regular home telephone, complete with a handset and buttons for dialing. But, rather than having standard phone connectors (RJ-11), an IP phone is equipped with an Ethernet connection (RJ-45). This VOIP device connects to your computer's router, and allows you to make phone calls directly from your home computer, dialing it just like a typical home telephone.

Yet another type of VOIP device is known as computer-to-computer. With this method, long-distance phone calls are made free of charge. All you pay is the monthly ISP fee you are already paying. Many companies offer free or low-price software that you install on your computer. If your computer is equipped with a microphone, PC speakers, and a sound card in addition to your Internet connection, then you will quickly be set up to talk to anyone in the world using VOIP. This is an extremely easy and affordable type of VOIP device that allows you to keep in touch with those far away from you.

As you can see, not only will VOIP change the way you make phone calls forever, but it will save you money as well. Utilizing equipment that the vast majority of us already have in our homes today, VOIP technology provides consumers with easy and affordable options in long distance phone service. With the exception of your current ISP's monthly charges, there is little to no expense at all. And since there are several options of VOIP devices from which you can choose, there is no reason not to consider VOIP as your primary means of making long distance phone calls to far away friends and family.

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