To make VOIP internet phone calls you require the following:
First and foremost you need a fast internet connection. By fast I mean broadband
- either ADSL, Cable or Satellite. Dial up connections are usually not fast enough
to sustain a decent conversation.
Voice Input Device
Next you need a means of getting your voice onto the web. There are quite a few
options including an IP Phone, USB Phone, Headset with microphone, stand alone
microphone and speakers or your ordinary phone in conjunction with an ATA - Analog
To digital Adapter.
Normally you require a computer to make calls but some IPSPs provide a service
where a computer is not necessary (see Astratel). These services connect your phone to a modem and then to the internet cutting
out the requirement to use a computer or have the computer turned on (if you have
Internet Phone Service Provider (IPSP)
To make calls to an ordinary phone you will need an IPSP. IPSPs make the connection
from the internet to the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network - ordinary phone
line system). There is a wide choice of IPSPs and you should peruse the table
on the home page to work out which one suits you. For example there are timed
calls and flat rate calls and there are unlimited call plans and pay as you go
plans. You may wish to cut down on your STD bill by selecting a plan that charges
a flat 10c per call to another capital city!
If you only wish to talk to another person online then you may only need the
software provided by the IPSP. Most IPSPs provide this service free but both you
and the person you are calling must be online and have the same software program.
All methods of making an internet call require the use of a software program.
Most companies provide this program free of charge when you sign up for their
service. There are quite a few programs available and some you can download and
try out for free. You can get a friend to download the same program and call you
online to see how it works. Usually online to online calls are free. An example
of this is Freshtel.