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VOIP

Skype

Skype is famous for its free PC–to–PC calling, which is the original way of talking through VOIP. The free PC–to–PC calling works only for Skype–to–Skype calling, and by users downloading free software from its website. The software then uses peer–to–peer networking to rout calls from one user to another. Skype also allows calls to and from traditional phone lines using a fee based service called SkypeIn and SkypeOut.

SkypeIn is a fee based service that allows customers to have a regular phone number from most area codes and countries. This gives traditional phones access to Skype customers. Voicemail service is also included with SkypeIn. SkypeOut is an additional fee based service that gives Skype users the ability to call non-Skype phone lines.

As far as hardware goes, USB headsets are the most common way of “talking on the phone” with Skype. Bluetooth enabled wireless headsets are also available. If using a PC as a phone scares you, Skype does have IP (or internet) based phones. They even offer dual-phones where you can connect the phone to your PC’s USB or the regular phone line. Lastly, Skype is working with Netgear in releasing a Wi–Fi based phone. All of these phones except for the Wi–Fi phone require a PC to be on to make calls. Below are some examples on how to connect Skype VOIP hardware.

Skype Phone Setup
Skype Phone Setup

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Other PC Based VOIP Providers

All the providers above offer VOIP functionality that is similar to Skype. Installation is done by a free software download from their respective websites. The software allows free PC–to–PC calling with other users of the same software. Each provider in the list above offers different features, and incorporates service specific hardware. Look for the ability to make/receive calls from traditional phone lines as well as what type of hardware is required.



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