Making Phone Calls over Internet Connections.
With the advent of VOIP (Voice Over Internet Providers), you can now make phone calls over internet connections that sound just as good as if you were using your regular house phone and often even better. Due to the proliferation of fiber optic cables, satellite service and digital broadband access to high-speed internet service around the world, it is now possible to make quality phone calls over internet services such as Skype, Vonage, or several others that are just now entering the marketplace.
Using Skype is simple and you need to first download the software from their web page at www.skype.com. Once you have downloaded the software on your computer you just need to purchase a USB headset. You can get one of these pretty cheap at Radio Shack or Best Buy. One of the most reliable brands is Plantronics, but just about any of the $20 to $40 models serve just as well. Most have two foam padded speakers for listening that cover the ears and a band that goes over your head, along with a microphone that sticks out and is adjustable for talking into.
Make sure that the wire that connects to your USB input on your computer has a mute switch on it. Once you have these items you are ready to make calls.
Calls from one Skype user to another Skype user are free of charge, no matter where the two users are in the world. You can be calling from Costa Rica to Sweden and as long as both users are using their Skype software, then the call is free and they can talk as long as they want with no charges. If you are using Skype to call a phone number that is not a Skype number, for example if you are using Skype to call a friend’s cell phone in another country, that is alright also, but will cost you a bit. In order to do this you will need to go to the Skype website and purchase what are called Skype Out Credits. You can buy these in increments of $10 or $25 and then you can call anyone in the world. Rates to each country are shown when you attempt to place a call. Calls to a Nicaragua cell phone, for instance, cost 22 cents per minute and less for a house phone. This is a really low rate compared to buying a prepaid calling card, which normally run for $5 and give you only 20 minutes of talking time and are very unreliable as far as getting connected.
Call quality on Skype is usually excellent and really makes it easy to make phone calls over internet connections that are high speed. Skype does not really work on low speed connections such as dial-up. You really need to have some bandwidth and high speed cable, DSL, or satellite service in order to have a reasonable sounding call. After every call you make, Skype will ask you to rate the service by filling out a small survey which appears as an annoying pop-up window.
Skype and Vonage both work the same basic way and you can easily make phone calls over internet services with both of these great systems.