Internet Calls

Written by Kevin Tavolaro
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Internet calls are telephone calls placed from a computer. As the technology improves, Internet calls are becoming an increasingly attractive and economical alternative to expensive long distance services. As digital communication technology continues to evolve, a variety of systems for placing and receiving Internet calls are starting to vie for attention. The pros and cons of these methods largely rely on your personal and/or business needs.

The most basic method for making Internet calls is PC-to-PC dialing. This system uses a software package to create a voice link between two online computers. You can talk to the other party using only your computer's speakers, a microphone, and Internet calling software, which is usually free. Although the sound quality of PC-to-PC calls has improved dramatically since the method was first introduced, there are still a few drawbacks to take into consideration. PC-to-PC Internet calls of this variety require that both parties be online at the same time. You also need to be running the same brand of Internet phone software as the party you're calling, otherwise you will not be able to make a connection. Many users also become annoyed at the software itself, which, although free, is usually ad-supported. This means that numerous banner ads and pop-ups will appear on your screen every time you place or receive an Internet call. In addition to being a distraction, this can also interfere with the performance of some computers.

Internet Calls Using VoIP Technology

"Voice over Internet Protocol" ("VoIP") technology is an improvement over the limitations of PC-to-PC calling. VoIP uses your computer to convert your voice into digital data packets, which are then rapidly transmitted via a hi-speed connection. Although VoIP calls are transferred using a computer, they can be placed to an existing landline. This means you can use the technology to place calls to any phone number, and not just someone who happens to be online at the moment and running the same software. The sound quality of these calls is also superior to previous types of Internet calls, thanks to the use of hi-speed online connections.

You might find PC-to-PC calling a fun, cost-efficient method for placing long distance calls to your friends, but it may prove too unreliable to count on for business use. VoIP calls, however, are suited to help you save money on your phone bill without interfering with your business concerns. Not only can you use VoIP to place calls from your computer to existing landlines or cell phones, but a VoIP phone adapter allows you to receive calls on your regular phone via your computer. Adapters are portable and can be instantly attached to any hi-speed Internet connection. This means you can take the adapter on the road, plug it into your hotel's hi-speed port, and continue to receive calls to your same number, no matter where you are.


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