PC TO PHONE
What Is Internet Telephony?
Internet calling is an exciting, new technology, which makes it possible to place domestic and international calls from a personal computer to any telephone in the world.
Using a sound-equipped PC, you can place a call through one of the growing number of call providers, commonly referred to as Internet Service Telephony Providers
When you place an Internet call from your pc, your call is then transmitted over the Internet into local telephone networks and finally, passed on to the regular telephone you are calling. The result is real time, uninterrupted, full duplex voice communication, generally as good as traditional phone calls, and in some cases, even better
Simply put, Internet telephony lets you make real-time voice, fax and even video calls over the Internet. Many small businesses are experimenting with Internet telephony, mainly because it can significantly reduce telecommunications costs.
You might also hear it called voice over IP (VoIP) or voice over the Internet
(VoI). A somewhat synonymous term, IP telephony most commonly refers to voice calls routed over a private intranet or wide area network (WAN), as opposed to the public Internet.
The Basics for PC-assisted telephoning
- Of course, the first thing you’ve got to have is a computer.
Your computer must have a soundcard and speakers, though many prefer plugging in a headset. Without a headset, you may encounter echoing or feedback.
- Your computer must have a good-quality microphone, or your headset may have one instead.
- You’ll need an Internet connection – the faster the better. Don’t even bother trying Internet telephony unless you have a 28.8 connection, and 56K is remarkably better.
- And, finally, you’ll need a telephony program. NetMeeting by Microsoft is by far one of the most popular and is fairly easy to use, but there are many up-and-comer’s that might have features that appeal to you more.
- Making Calls over the Internet
There are some major differences between making a regular phone call and an Internet call.
- First, to make a phone call over the Internet, you need a multimedia computer with at least a 28.8 Kbps Internet connection, a sound card, speakers and a microphone.
- Second, with regular phone calls, your voice travels over the Public Switched Telephone Network
(PSTN), a circuit-switched network that creates a dedicated, and thus high-quality, connection between you and the person you’re calling. With Internet telephony, your voice travels over the Internet, which is a packet-switched network. And since packet-switched networks were designed to carry data (as opposed to real-time communications), calls might experience delays and distortion.
- Third, when making a regular telephone call, you're charged according to the distance and duration of the call. When you make a call over the Internet, distance and duration are not important — your Internet service provider merely charges you a low, fixed-rate price for your Internet bandwidth. For this low price, it's not surprising that you get a lower-quality call than over the telephone.
- Advantages of Internet Calling
- Save Money
One of the greatest benefits of Internet calling is the savings you can realize when you call long distance - sometimes up to 95% off the cost of traditional long distance calls. Because calls are carried over the Internet, rates are determined by the call destination, and not the origin.
- Call Anywhere
Another advantage of Internet calling is that any regular telephone can be reached via a PC. Unlike PC-to-PC technology, such as voice-chat, where both caller and receiver must be online, Internet calling offers the freedom to reach any regular telephone, without requiring any extra effort on the part of the receiver.
- Toll-Free Access
While US toll-free numbers are generally not accessible from outside the US, Internet calling enables users to reach toll-free numbers (800, 888 or 877), from anywhere in the world.
- Call and Surf
If you only have a single phone line for your calls and your computer's Internet access, Internet calling allows you to enjoy both at the same time. Because Internet calling uses your online connection, you can talk and still surf the net!
Telephony Software and Services
you need specialized software to make Internet
calls, there are a number of free or inexpensive
Internet-telephony products. Internet-telephony
software traditionally used proprietary techniques,
which meant that both you and the person you were
calling needed to have the same software, but
some vendors are now adopting a standard protocol.
Still, unless you have a dedicated connection
to the Internet and continuously run your telephony
software, you have to schedule the call ahead
It’s also possible to call someone’s telephone
from your PC through an Internet-telephony gateway
service, such as Net2Phone. Such services carry
as much of your call as possible on the Internet
and use the PSTN to carry only a small part of
the call, allowing the provider to charge relatively
low per-minute rates for long-distance calls.