VoIP (Voice over IP) is a way of making phone calls over an internet connection. As the voice data is sent over the internet, the technology can effectively make a phone call anywhere in the world, with the price being much cheaper than a standard landline call.
VoIP is suitable for anyone who makes phone calls. VoIP technology has now improved to the point where you can make crystal clear calls across the world, without interruption. VoIP is often used for video calls, using a webcam and a headset, but it is equally suited to ordinary local calls with a phone handset plugged into a VoIP enabled modem. VoIP plans are ideal for anyone concerned about large phone bills, or who want to chat for as long as they like without worrying about the cost.
In order to experience the best quality calls, VoIP requires a stable, fast internet connection such as ADSL2+ or fast ADSL1. While it is possible to make phone calls over 3G mobile broadband, users may experience poor quality sound and drop outs.
VoIP plans can be as simple as downloading free software onto a computer and using a headset to make calls, or plugging a handset into a VoIP modem to make and receive calls, just like an ordinary landline. Some VoIP plans only offer the ability to make outgoing calls, while others offer a DID (Direct In Dial) number, so you can also receive incoming calls.
When shopping around for a VoIP plan, see if you can bundle one in with your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Compare this price with a standalone provider, who may be able to offer better value. Take a look at your bills and try to work out whether you make more local, national, or international calls, and select a plan based on your current usage.
If you want to use your telephone handset to make and receive VoIP calls, you will also need a VoIP modem. You can either buy a modem with VoIP capabilities, or you can purchase another device that will enable your current modem to work with VoIP.