We’re hearing a lot about Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
these days. I for one am a big fan of this technology. Did you know that you
could actually use VoIP in 3 different ways? That’s right! There are really 3
different ways that you can ‘make the call’. Ok, you can actually receive the
call 3 different ways as well.
First up is probably the most popular. I use this way myself and most of the
residential providers out there today use this as well. What is it?
ATA – Analog Telephone Adapter
Your normal phone plugs into an ATA that you received from your VoIP provider.
This is the most common way to get hooked into VoIP. This device takes care of
all the magic that occurs when you make and receive your calls over your
broadband connection. Your analog phone signal must be converted to digital to
be routed through your broadband connection and this ATA does the job.
IP Phone – Internet Protocol Phones
As the name would imply, these are ‘special’ phones. You wouldn’t know it by
looking at them. They look like normal phones. What is different about these
phones is the electronics inside them and the fact they don’t take a ‘regular’
phone cable (RJ-11). Instead these phones take an Ethernet cable connection
(RJ-45) and also come equipped with the necessary electronics to plug directly
into your router.
This is the oldest and possibly the easiest way to get plugged into VoIP. Here
instead of using your normal phone or IP phone to make calls through your
broadband connection, you use your computer itself! (You could do this over
dial-up, but broadband is certainly better) There are a number of services
available that offer no cost or low cost service. You’ll need the software and a
microphone to speak into and speakers to hear from and of course your computer
and a high-speed internet connection. Some providers offer this service for free
when their software is being used on both ends of the call.
Watch out for Wi-Fi (using IP phones) and other advancements in VoIP technology.
We truly are on the verge of a major breakthrough in telecommunications. So,
what are you waiting for? Make the call!
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