Internet phones are all the rage within the VoIP (Voice
Over IP) industry. When Alexander Graham Bell first
uttered, "Watson, come here. I want to see you"
he hadn't a clue how voice traveling over a wire would
change the world. Bell also couldn't fathom that 130
years later that Internet phones would be helping people
around the world communicate quickly, clearly and cheaply.
But, if he were alive today, he most surely would be
fascinated by it.
Today's Internet phones come in three different varieties.
The first kind is comprised on a headset and software
phone (or soft-phone) that resides on a PC. The user
can download a free service such as Skype
or Google Talk and in minutes be talking to other uses
halfway around the world and not spending a penny.
second kind of Internet phone is a VoIP hardware
telephone with a built-in adapter made for plugging
directly into your home router that is set up
for broadband and has an Ethernet connection.
Or, the VoIP phone
can plug directly into the USB port of the computer.
The advantage of plugging into the router is that
the PC doesn't have to be turned on in order for
the Internet phone to operate. Internet phones
that are plugged into the USB port, on the other
hand do have to have the computer turned on to
The third kind of Internet phone is actually a regular
telephone that uses an VoIP
telephone adapter to change it into an Internet
phone. This adapter is usually supplied to users by
the VoIP service provider at a nominal charge. The latest
round of Internet phone adapters has far superior voice
quality than software telephones since software phones
usually have to share processing time with other programs
running on the computer.
Depending upon the hardware manufacturer or VoIP service
provider, setup of the Internet phones may be simple
plug-n-play procedures or fairly problematic. Common
problems exist between Internet phones and routers,
so make sure that the router is up to the task of handling
the demands of your brand of Internet phone. A firewall
can also create problems when installing an Internet
phone as the telephone may need access to certain ports.
This information should be provided by the Internet
Another problem unique to Internet phones are power
outages. Landlines typically provider their own power
and will work even in blackouts. Since making VoIP
911 calls during a blackout will be impossible,
many people also insist on having a UPS auxiliary power
source in order to use the Internet phone in an emergency.
It is also wise to check with the service provider to
see how that handle E911 service before subscribing
to the service.