So everyone knows that the internet has permeated much of our lives. One area that this holds very true is voice communications. Many people have abandoned their old land-lines from the phone company for mobile phones and internet based telephone service
VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. When you send an email, download a song, or view a webpage, all the data is sent using small packets. VOIP works in a similar way, breaking down your conversation into small packets and sent along with all the other internet traffic.
There are several ways to communicate over the internet using VOIP. A popular commercial option called Vonage allows you to connect a regular telephone to a device that plugs right into your internet connection. Vonage gives you all of the same features you had with your old phone, but their service is usually less expensive. The quality of the phone calls is very good, and with cool features like multi-number forwarding and voice mails that are delivered into your email box, you may find the switch to be an easy one.
Another way to communicate over the web is to use Skype. Skype has a similar commercial service like Vonage, but you can also use their service for free when calling other Skype members. It is free to join, and does not require any special hardware to be purchased, though if you have a webcam, you can do video telephone calls!
Many businesses have switched from expensive and hard to maintain telephone switches to VOIP systems. With a new telephone switch costing several thousand dollars, VOIP is a great way to get all the benefits of a multi-line telephone system without a huge cost upfront.