Software Is Available to Allow the Small Business to Get Nearly Free VoIP Calls

There is software available to make free VoIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol phone calls over the internet using a broadband internet connection.

What is VoIP exactly? VoIP converts the analog telephone call into a digital signal. That signal travels through the internet to the person you are calling. With the right software, you can actually get this calling service for free or almost for free on your computer.

VoIP service (it is not free VoIP) is also available from a large number of providers for prices ranging from just a few dollars a month to about $30 a month. While it is not free VoIP, it will cut your phone bill substantially over what the telephone company charges for traditional service.

According to one VoIP directory on the internet, the U.S. has almost 700 listed VoIP companies and if you throw in Canada, the number grows.

If you are interested in this type of service (and it is a real money saver for both small and large companies), probably the place to begin is with your cable provider. Your cable provider will not offer free VoIP but it will offer VoIP and enhanced services probably for one price. That may be a good buy for you.

All of the major telephone companies offer it as well. Typcially as part of a larger plan or package. If you really want to go for the savings, go to CNET.com and check out the companies listed there. One of the most popular companies listed on CNET is Skype. Both the CNET editors and users of this product give it high marks. Further, in a recent week, that company had over 15,000 downloads of its software. That's consumers and small business people voting with their "clicks." CNET said in a recent review that the Skype's central theme is cheap calling from the desktop. Apparently you can talk for free on the Skype-to-Skype program and CNET said for international calling, this system is a no-brainer.

Some of the features to look for in various plans are those that are similar to traditional telephone plans include:

  • 911 calling
  • Voicemail
  • Caller ID
  • VoIP on the go
  • Call waiting
  • Call return
  • Caller ID block
  • Web call logs
  • Call forwarding
  • Operator service
  • 3-way calling
  • Simultaneous ring

Many of the small companies offering VoIP may offer just the basic service, none of these enhanced features.

There is a great variety of software available for VoIP. If you are unfamiliar with the terms and concepts, find an internet tutorial or training program. Review the various providers and their systems. With certain programs downloaded and installed on your computer and a broadband internet connection, you can make computer-to-computer telephone calls to anyone in the world. You will need a sound card, a headset with earphones and a mic. That person receiving your call on his or her computer will need the same. Sometimes, certain software programs require that both computers have the same program installed. You can also go to www.fcc.gov for information on VoIP.

Most VoIP systems will allow you to make a call using a phone with an adapter. You dial the phone in the same way you would a traditional phone. You can make calls locally, long distance, cellular and international. Many of these services will allow unlimited calls—both local and long distance—at least in the U.S. and Canada. If you have loved ones on other continents and want to keep in touch constantly, the computer-to-computer VoIP is the cheap or cheapest way to go.

Before you opt for a system for your business, carefully consider the various systems and programs available and get customer feedback on how well the systems function. You do not want to start a business and begin calling prospects only to get dropped calls. One website that offers an excellent tutorial on VoIP systems is Quick Start VoIP.

Many internet search engines can lead you to much more information on VoIP providers, systems, plans and monthly fees and charges. When searching, take care to key in voip because the term is frequently mispelled viop. Some popular search terms for VoIP include: VoIP reviews, sip VoIP, wholesale calls, best providers, phone systems, bandwidth, plan, router, server, gateway, pbx, solution, telecommunication, telephony. equipment, and wholesale.

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