From:         Bob Rankin 
Subject:      TOURBUS - 09 DEC 2004 - Internet Telephony


The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

Seems like everybody, and everything, is getting connected to the Internet. Have you heard about Internet Telephony? If you have high-speed Internet service, you may be able to save on telephone charges by connecting the phone to your modem instead of the phone company's wall jack. Read on to learn more.

Operator, Can ya help me place this call?

Internet telephony (also called VoIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol) connects your phone to the Internet via your high-speed cable or DSL modem. Instead of plugging into your local phone company's wall jack, you plug your phone line into a telephony adapter. The adapter plugs into the modem and converts the signal from your phone into data that travels over the Internet. You still use your phone the same way.

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Why would you want to make the switch to Internet telephony? Saving money is the primary reason. Generally VoIP services cost only $20 to $30 per month, and that includes unlimited local and long distance calling. Some providers even include international calls for free.

The quality of the calls is generally excellent, but depends on the reliability of your Internet connection. If your cable/DSL service tends to be flaky, you may not want to use VoIP. You may also have choppy voice quality if you're using your Internet connection to download a large file during a conversation.

And of course, if there's a power outage, your phone won't work. If you have a cell phone as backup that may not be a big deal, but it's something to consider.

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If you're interested in trying out Internet telephone service, contact your Internet provider to see if they offer it. You may save money if you get it bundled with your current Internet service. You can also check into AT&T CallVantage [ ], Vonage [ ], or Lingo [ ].

Another option is Skype [ ] which gives you the option of truly free Internet calling. This is computer to computer calling, so you'll be making your calls using the microphone and speakers attached to your computer. They do offer Skype-to-phone calling, but that's a fee-based service. Skype works on Windows, Mac and Linux systems.

Catch the Buzz?

What celebrities and top news stories are attracting the most online eyeballs? What's up with Motley Crue, Gilligan, and Mythbusters? Who is Anna Benson and what is the Massa Marittima? Find out now with the Tourbus News Service. In addition to the latest Celebrity, TV, Sports, Internet, and Computing headlines, you'll find a peek into the collective mind of the Internet User. Check it out here:

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The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

That's all for now, I'll see you next time! --Bob Rankin

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