Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, uses your broadband internet connection to place phone calls. By converting your voice (or analog) signal into a digital signal, this makes for a more efficient way to talk on the phone and can save you money.
There are three ways you can use VoIP. You can either connect using your regular phone and an adapter, a special internet phone, or download software and use your computer. Here are the methods, in greater detail:
Using your home phone. If you would like to switch from your regular phone line to VoIP, many people opt to continue using their home phone. To do this, you must use an analog telephone adapter, or ATA. This device converts the analog signal (your voice) to a digital signal. Once the signal is converted, it goes through the internet connection. When shopping for a service provider, ask them if they include this adapter with their packages. Most do.
Connect using an IP phone. When using a special IP phone, you don’t need a separate ATA. Everything you need to use your broadband internet connection as your telephone service is included with the hardware. Instead of using a regular phone jack and connector, it uses an Ethernet connection to plug into your router.
Connect using your computer. If your computer has speakers, microphone, a sound card, and a high speed internet connection you can use your computer for VoIP. Companies offer free or low cost software downloads which allows you to use your computer to make phone calls. Using this method is either free, costing only the price of your internet connection, or nearly free. Earthlink’s Vling software is both free to download and free to use. The only hitch is that you can only talk with other Vling users.