The internet has changed many things – how we find information, shop and organise our social lives, to name just a few. But, most crucially, it has entirely transformed the way in which we communicate. Emails have completely revolutionised office life as well as personal life, and it’s hard to imagine a world without them. But when it comes to phones – landlines, anyway – we seem to be stuck in the dark ages.
VoIP, or Voice over IP, is a way to use the internet to make calls. You may know it better by the names of its providers: Skype or Vonage, for example. But this doesn’t just need to be about your computer. It’s available on many different devices, even your own phone at home.
VoIP is an easy and cheap way to place any calls via the internet to anywhere in the world. The phone you’re calling does not need to be a VoIP phone. You can also pick any number you want, with any area code within your country. And most importantly, because of the nature of the connection, it will be significantly cheaper than using a normal landline, and when dialling to other VoIP connections, it will cost you nothing.
What do you need?
Connecting a landline to VoIP is straightforward. There’s no new wiring or heavy electronics work to be done. All you need is a VoIP adaptor to plug into your router. More instructions on how to set this up are below.
Alternatively, if you’ve long lost interest in the idea of having a landline, or a cost-efficient alternative, you can download the software on your machine. All you will then need to buy is a microphone and headphones – and a webcam if you want to have a video conference. You can also use VoIP through your mobile if you’re within a WiFi zone. Organizations such as Vonage (www.vonage.co.uk) are even in the process of building VoIP apps.
So how much money will you save? If you’re a frequent phone user and someone who often calls overseas, you’re sure to save a lot of money. But whatever your usage, you’re bound to cut down on costs. And if all of your friends start using VoIP, your phone bill will go down to virtually zero.
There are also big money-saving opportunities for businesses, especially those who make regular international calls. A business number is about six times cheaper to set up.
Steps to create a VoIP network
Once you’ve got your VoIP adaptor, follow the instructions. You’ll need to connect a telephone line to the LINE 1 port of the phone adaptor with a standard line. Then you’ll need to plug in the power cable so it can charge up, as well as downloading any updates. If there’s a dial tone, you’ve done something right! Even if your internet breaks, you’ll still receive incoming calls – all you need to do is register a ‘rollover number’ for when the VoIP company cannot reach your device.
Don’t waste needless money – VoIP is a great way to call people cheaply. And it’s so simple to make the switch.