Different people have different telephone needs. For some of you, lowering the cost of your calls is the biggest priority. Others may want easy access to features such as conference calling or better voice quality on international calls. Internet telephones can address these and other needs. Here are interviews with four real-world users who've made the switch.
HOW INTERNET PHONES HELPED…
INTERNET PHONE GLOSSARY
- A 1994 act that requires telecommunications services to provide wiretapping access. The act specifically excludes information services, so the question is whether VoIP is a telecommunications service, and thus covered by the act, or an information service, and thus exempted. VoIP providers are receiving pressure to comply with the act.
- The network of wires, signals, and switches that lets one telephone connect to another anywhere in the world. Some VoIP services provide a gateway from the Internet to the PSTN and vice versa.
- Communication protocol that operates similarly to H.323 but is less complex and more Internet- and Web-friendly. Fully modular and designed from the ground up for functioning over IP networks, it can be tailored more easily than H.323 for Internet applications. SIP and H.323 can and do coexist.
See expanded glossary
TIPS & TRICKS
Different Internet phone plans are better for different calling patterns. Shop around.
If you move, take your Internet phone router with you. Your phone number goes with it.
Businesses: sign up for an 800 number.
It's cheap, and it makes you look more professional.
Skype will connect through firewalls, which is a big plus.