VOIP : Computer Hardware Buyers’ Glossary

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VOIP
VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) Using the Internet packet net for voice conversations. Either or both ends might be ordinary telephones or they might be PCs (Personal Computers) with microphones and speakers. If you have a wireless Internet network, you can also use WiFi (Wireless Fidelity) phones that look like cellphones but tie into the nearest Internet wireless network. VOIP is cheaper than ordinary long distance but has problems with voice cutting out during times of congestion or lost packets. VOIP is also used as verb.

Advantages

Gotchas

You can buy VOIP services that use ordinary phones that plug into a gateway box that then plugs into your LAN (Local Area Network). These are designed primarily to augment land line phone service for high volume long distance, not totally replace it. Most of the time, you will also want to keep your ordinary land line voice service so your savings won’t be a big as you might expect.

Intercom

If you live in an apartment, chances are your telephone rings when someone comes to the door. (Very old apartments may have a separate intercom.) This can be handled by a box at the apartment door phoning you via the phone company. In this case, your VOIP phone will ring. You would miss the call if your computer is not powered on. My apartment has a Viscount Enterphone 2000 which works a different way. It works even if you have no phone service at all. It uses a direct wire to your set of phone jacks. You need to plug a standard phone into one of the wall jacks to take calls from the front door. Your VOIP phone will not ring, unless you had some special hardware on your computer to attach to your wall jack wiring. (I don’t know if such hardware even exists.) Visit the website of the manufacturer of your entry system to find out about compatibility.

The Comwave people sometimes use a miniature router that gives you only one Ethernet outlet for computers, or a 4-port router. You can plug a single phone into the router, or plug the router into a wall outlet, where it powers all the phones.

AxVoice: VOIP
Comwave: VOIP phone service
digital phone
High Quality Radio Interviews over VOIP
IconnectHere
Internet Phone
MagicJack : low cost, easy-to-use VOIP
Ooma: works even when your computer is off
Primus
SIP
Skype: software only VOIP
VOIP tutorial: Linux oriented
Vonage
WiFi phones

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