The Quick Start Guide to VOIP for the Home, Home Office, and Small Business

How VOIP Works—A Nuts and Bolts VOIP Tutorial

Step 1—Get High Speed Internet

In order to use VoIP, you need a broadband connection. If the person you are calling will be receiving the call on a computer, they need a broadband connection too. This means a high-speed Internet connection usually provided by a cable or DSL modem.

Broadband modems are usually used to connect computers to the Internet, but if you make VOIP calls from a phone, a computer is not necessary. The broadband phone connects either directly to a VOIP phone or to a regular phone via an Analog Terminal Adaptor (see Step 2 below).

Step 2 Make Calls

Next, decide what type of call you want to make: computer to computer, computer to phone, or phone to phone.

Computer to Computer

The simplest form of VOIP is a computer-to-computer voice connection. All that is required is a computer with sound card, a headset consisting of earphones and microphone, and some VOIP software. Most software packages are free and allow you to connect to any computer running the same software. There is no charge for this type of connection and calls can be made to anywhere in the world. Skype is an example of free VOIP software. Read more about Skype...

voip phone calls to computer

Computer to Phone

To make a computer to phone connection, you also need VOIP software, headset, earphones and microphone, but the party on the other end can use any regular land-line phone and sometimes cell phone—in other words, a phone not connected directly to the Internet. This type of call is not usually free but the cost is quite a bit lower than what your telephone company charges.

The only time that both parties need a particular VoIP software package is when they are making computer-to-computer calls. Parties receiving land-line or cellular calls do not need any extra equipment or software.

voip phone calls to landline telephone

Phone to Phone

To make a phone to phone connection, there are two options. (1) Use a regular phone plugged into an ATA adaptor, which in turn plugs into your broadband modem. (2) Use an IP phone (also called a SIP phone or VOIP phone) that plugs directly into your broadband connection. Vonage is a popular Internet phone company that provides this kind of service. Read more about Vonage.

voip phone calls to voip phone

Next: [ VOIP Tutorial Part 2 ]

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