You’ve probably heard friends or colleagues talking about making free Skype calls over the internet, or cheap calls from their computer to someone else’s landline phone. You can even set up a Skype In number, which is a local phone number people can call you on when you are overseas. So, what do you need to have to make these Skype calls?

The first thing you’ll want is a fairly new computer, capable of running at good speeds. Secondly, you’ll need an internet connection of at least 1500kbps. Anything slower will result in lower call quality. You’ll need a faster speed (like ADSL2+) if you want high quality video calls. Then, all you have to do is download the free Skype application off of the internet, which should only take a matter of minutes.

Skype calls from computer to computer

Skype calls are phone calls that run over the internet. It is a form of VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol. The most common type of Skype call made is a free call from one person’s computer to another person’s computer. If your mobile phone has 3G mobile wireless internet capabilities it can also make and receive these free calls, as it is acting like a miniature computer.

What makes Skype different from other VoIP connections is you don’t need to have a telephone handset. What you do need is a microphone to speak through, and speakers to hear the person you’re talking to. Often the best option is a headset that incorporates a microphone next to your mouth and a hearing piece for listening into one device. However, if you are in a quiet place with little background noise you may be able to make audio and even video calls just by talking to your computer screen.

You can have a video conversation for free with friends, family, or colleagues on the other side of the world! How cool is that?

Skype Out calls to landline or mobile phones

Another great Skype function commonly used by people is Skype Out. Here you have to pay a small fee, but you can call actual telephone numbers from your computer/mobile phone screen. When you call landlines, the rates for calls are incredibly cheap, so this is often the best option for people who want to make international calls, but don’t have access to a phone, or who want to save a lot of money. Skype Out calls are much cheaper than using your landline phone.

Skype In calls from phones to your computer

Skype In is where you pay to have a local phone number in your hometown, but then live overseas or interstate. Instead of people having to call you with international or STD call rates, they can simply call your VoIP phone number, which goes straight to your computer. The fee for having your own number isn’t very much, yet people a world away will be able to casually talk with you as if you were down the street in the same neighbourhood.

Using a professional VoIP service to use your telephone handset over the internet

Some people want to make phone calls over the internet using their telephone handset. For this scenario Skype won’t be a viable option. However, there are several Australian VoIP providers who can offer you this service. Engin (1300 121 064), Club Telco (1300 138 155) and SpinTel (1300 381 277) can all provide you with VoIP-only plans, which you can use if you have a broadband internet connection.

Other major ADSL and ADSL2+ broadband providers can also add this type of VoIP service to their basic internet connection for a small extra fee. Give us a call at Compare Broadband (1300 106 571) to find out the most competitive deals currently on the market.