To make PC to PC or PC to phone calls, the first thing you need to do is choose a VoIP provider. There are a number of providers in the UK including BT VoIP, Demon and Vonage VoIP. Choosing which provider to subscribe too will largely depend on the packages they offer, the cost of making phone calls to land lines and mobile phones, and how many of your contacts use a specific provider.
Once you have decided which service you will subscribe too, you will need to download the providers software, which in most cases is free to install.
Before you can get started you need to make sure you have a headset, or you have a microphone and speakers. The other option available is buying a USB phone that plugs into your computer’s USB socket that offers a very familiar user experience.
Once you have installed the software and got chosen the hardware, you are then ready to call other people who are using the same software free of charge over the internet, as well as call regular land lines and mobile phones for a small fee determined by your VoIP provider.
If you are using VoIP on your mobile phone, then all you need to do is download the software to your phone, and you need not worry about buying any additional hardware.
Types of Handsets
There are a number of options for choosing a handset to use to speak using VoIP:
- Headset – this plugs into your computer and comes with a microphone and speakers.
- VoIP handset –works just like a phone but instead plugs into your computers USB socket.
- IP Phone – plugs straight into your router so no need to turn the computer on
- Dual phone – capable of making normal calls and VoIP calls
Many of the better VoIP services allow you to take advantage of a number of the following features:
- Caller ID
- Local phone number option
- Conference calls
- Call forwarding
- Instant transfer to voicemail
- Instant messaging