Thanks to modern technology, the quality of Internet phone calls have vastly improved. The explosive growth in affordable high-speed broadband access coupled with a relatively new breed of inexpensive hardware and software adapters has resulted in a host of Web phone (also known as VOIP) services willing to woo you away from the traditional phone company.
There are several benefits of VoIP, but two of the most common are cost and reliability. When choosing a phone service, you need to first decide whether you will be using it for business purposes or simply personal use. Many VoIP providers include the option of calling internationally for free, provided you’re not using international long distance. Some companies even allow you to make unlimited international calls!
Another advantage of using a VoIP provider is reliability. Since you’re connecting to a number that is physically present, there is no chance that your call would be routed to another country. Unlike the traditional PSTN system, where every other phone is considered an extension, your VoIP service provider will route your call to a toll free number that is specifically dedicated to the particular device you’re using.
But, just like with any other service provider, there’s a downside to using an Internet phone service. If you don’t know how to configure it, your calls could be picked up by a telemarketer, who will hang up on you or hang up on your caller ID if they’re unable to connect.
So how do you set up Internet phones, and what options does your service provider offer? Here are some general steps to follow.
First, you’ll need to select a plan. There are two basic types of plans: pay as you go and contract. In pay as you go, you’ll only need to buy a phone and have a contract that you agree to for at least a year. In contract, you’ll purchase a phone and a specific contract from the provider, and the phone will then be shipped to you after the contract term is finished.
Next, decide which phone you’d like to use. There are many VoIP phones to choose from, ranging from basic models that will let you dial from any distance to high-end models that allow you to place a call right from your laptop, desktop to office. You can also find phones that can be used in both places, meaning that they function as regular landlines and VoIP phones. However, the most expensive phones will allow you to make calls from the laptop and your home phone.
The last step to VoIP is setting up the connection between the phone and the Internet. Most providers will allow you to set up your connection within minutes, but some providers will allow you to set up it over the phone line as well. Either way, you’ll need to find a VoIP provider with a decent reputation in the industry.
Most providers will give you the opportunity to test out their service before buying. This will allow you to make sure everything is working properly before you commit.
Finally, once you’ve purchased your Internet phone service and connected it to your Internet service, you’ll need to configure it. Most people will do this through their regular VoIP phone service provider. It’s easy to install and you should only need a few minutes. Once you’ve installed it, make sure you set it up correctly.
To change your default callers, open up VoIP and click on the tab for the contact numbers that you want to call. Click on the “edit” button on the left side. You’ll see a drop-down menu that lets you enter the contact’s name and phone number.
Then, type the phone number into the call list box and hit the “send” button. When the call connects to the Internet, type in your call and click on the “receive” tab. If everything is set up properly, your call should ring in.