Earlier, when making calls to long distance or international calls, the charges were too high that you have to think twice before making calls. However, today the things have changed a lot and due to the power of the internet, people are able to chat not only through text or voice but also via Video Chat. Today, High-speed Internet is capable enough to deliver more than what you expected. With the help of VoIP, Making domestic and international calls are very cheap, and sometimes it’s free.
Using VoIP, you can call your friends and family members anywhere in the world at an extremely low rates and sometimes even free.
What is VoIP?
VoIP is Voice Over Internet Protocol, a method to send out voice data using the internet, rather than public switched telephone network. It is a communication protocol or technology used to transfer voice and multimedia data using the internet.
How to Make Phone Calls using VoIP
You might have used messengers to chat with friends and family members via voice chat i.e. PC to PC, which is nothing but VoIP. Anyway, you can also use VoIP to place calls to any mobile and landline anywhere in the world using your regular landline, mobile phone or your computer. When making calls via Telephone or Mobile phone, you would dial the other mobile or landline number as usually as you do normally. The only difference is that the calls are routed through the internet and not through the telephone company.
Additionally, To receive calls you can also get a US Phone Number or number pertaining to that country where your friends and relatives reside, so that your friends and relatives can enjoy the local rates while calling you. There are many services, which offer freephone numbers without spending a penny. However, there are also paid number available for e.g. Skype-In (also known as Online Number) which would cost around 25$ for 3 months.
There are two possible way that you can use VoIP service to make calls over Internet.
1. Via Computer
Using VoIP on computer doesn’t require any telephone or any hardware to place calls over the internet. There are many VoIP software and messengers, which can be used to make calls over the internet. There are also many web-based online VoIP services, which doesn’t require you to install any software on the system. To make calls via Computer, you just need a headset with microphone and any of the below software on the system. The pricing of calling is based on the type of calls you make, which is explained below.
PC to PC – When making calls between PC to PC, the calling is always free and can be used without any limitation. Since the calling is between one IP and other IP, i.e. VoIP to VoIP, it is just a communication between computers via IP address.
PC to Mobile and Landline – When making calls between PC to Mobile or Landline, this type of calling is paid and required you to pay or subscribe to plan, which is very cheap. However, sometimes this type of calling is free or with limited free calling minutes. Check here, Google Voice offering free calling within the US and Canada.
Below are some popular VoIP software and plans available for VoIP.
Skype – For PC to PC, make unlimited free calls to any Skype User. For PC to Mobile and Landline, price start at just 1.9¢/min, for call made anywhere in the world or choose from the subscription plan for more cheaper rates. Make unlimited calls to mobiles and landlines in 24 European Countries at €5.99/month. Check out more plan according to the country you want to call.
Google Voice – For PC to PC, make unlimited free calls to any Google or Gmail user. For PC to Mobile and Landline, call rates start at very low rates as per the country. All international calling rates are as follow, France – 10¢/minute, Germany – 10¢, India – 2¢, United States – Free.
Yahoo Voice – For PC to PC, make unlimited free calls to any Yahoo Messenger user. For PC to Mobile and Landline, call rates start at very low rates as per the country. All international calling rates are as follow, US – 1.9¢/min, China – 1.8¢/min, London – 7.9¢/min, Canada – 1.8¢/min, Vietnam – 19.9¢/min, India 7.9¢/min and Spain – 1.8¢/min. Additionally, First 800 calls are free for usage.
2. Via Mobile and Landline
This is usually the best option to use VoIP service to make calls over the internet. Since, you don’t have to sit in front of the computer to make calls. You can enjoy calling through your mobile or landline over the internet to anywhere in the world. To set up this, you will need a dedicated hardware for VoIP i.e. VoIP Adapter or an IP Phone.
This adapter acts as a modem where in it converts the analog voice data from your regular phone to digital data, which is sent across over the internet. This adapter connects to your regular phone and the router or modem for internet connection. The other option would be IP Phone where in it look as a normal phone with handset and buttons, but this phone will have RJ-45 Ethernet connector instead of RJ-11 phone connector. IP Phone doesn’t require any adapter for VoIP, which is already built in and has all the required hardware and software to make VoIP call directly. In case, you don’t want to buy an IP Phone, and you already have a regular phone available then its better to buy a VoIP adapter.
|Vonage – Vonage is one of the largest VoIP Providers which allows to make call domestic and international using internet.||
The Hardware costs $79.99. For Unlimited calling in US & Canada costs $9.99/month. There are some other plans which offer unlimited calling to 60 countries on landline and more than 10 countries with unlimited calling to mobile phones.
|Pros: Low Prices, simple setup, portable and light weight, voice mail features, Details of all incoming and outgoing calls with their usage details and better sound clarity.
Cons: Poor customer support on call. However it has improved a lot recently.
|Skype – Skype is a popular VoIP service provider. It offers its users to call other users using voice and video. Skype also provides hardware to make calls over the internet without using the computer.||
You can buy VoIP adapter or IP Phone according to the budget. Skype also offers its unlimited plan where in Unlimited Europe will cost €5.99/month and unlimited calls to landlines in 40 countries worldwide costs €9.99/month.
|Pros: Easy to use, Low Prices, Video Calling, better sound clarity, Skype is the most popular and available service worldwide.
Cons: Video call quality lags a bit.
|Ooma – Ooma is telecommunication company based in US. It allows its users to make free phone calls anywhere in US.||The hardware costs 199.99. There are no monthly charges except for government taxes and other fees, which come around $12/year.||Pros: Easy to use, Simple setup, Unlimited free call to US, low cost, low rates for international calls.
Cons: Hardware is a bit expensive.
Note: Before you decide to use VoIP, make sure you have a decent broadband connection.