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Old 10-08-2006, 11:38 AM   #1
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Hey everyone, I've heard a lot about voip phones although I still have little idea what that actually means, voip. People saying things about using your laptop as your phone. Is this via wi-fi or a broadband connection? Is it advisable to use primarily this technology while traveling, or is it still not reliable yet? If voip is a good option, where in the heck do I start when it comes to finding a good service? I'm not so tech savvy, so maybe I should stick with my cell phone, eh? Any slices of advice and words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 10-08-2006, 02:02 PM   #2
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VOIP = Voice over IP. From there, it's pretty self explanatory. Pretty much, you use a service (and there are many) to make a phone call via your computer, almost like instant messageing with voice. The program I use is SkyPE and have found it to be all that I need. You can do free "calls" to other members of SkyPE, provided they're logged on.

You can buy a phone # so that people can call you (which probably wouldn't really be beneficial if you'll be traveling, except for voicemail). You can call regular phones from SkyPE(some calls are free, some you have to pay) if you have speakers and a microphone (or a cheap VOIP phone wih a USB port which can now be purchased nearly anywhere). The phone service is still being improved and I've found it "satisfactory" but not superior.

As for traveling - I wouldn't really really on using VOIP unless you'll have your laptop. If you end up at an intnet cafe or something without the program, you have to download and that'll eventually turn into a real pain. Prepaid phone cards are excelling though.
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Old 10-09-2006, 12:37 PM   #3
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Check out the Broadband Access at onesuite.com. Easy to use SoftPhone VOIP technology at calling card rates (cheap).
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Old 10-09-2006, 06:32 PM   #4
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Skype is a decent product and has rapidly improved. You can call computer to computer for free - you need speakers and microphone as mentioned and also need a high speed connection. If you sign up for their pay service, you can call computer to a cell or landline phone and pay some quite inexpensive rates. If you and the person you are talking to each have have a pc camera, you can bascially turn your pc into a video phone.

If you want something for home, try Lingo or Vonage. I use Lingo and it works quite well. It works with a regular phone. They send you a small box that connects your regular phone to your internet connection - the box looks like a cable modem. The rates are very, very cheap. You can check them out on the internet as well. The sound quality is not quite the same as a landline phone, but still pretty good nonetheless and for the rates, its great.

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Old 10-09-2006, 10:28 PM   #5
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From what I found when backpacking, a lot of places have skype downloaded at main hostels. Just make sure everyone you plan on calling has it downloaded, with user name, and will be on while you are up and about and not in the middle of the night. It may not be great for travelling but to talk to my boyfriend in NZ from the US it is free and has a great quality, even with my "stolen" wireless
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