VoIP or Internet Telephony
Proof that talk can be cheap - and in some cases, free
VoIP (sometimes misspelled voip or VOIP) stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, a relatively new way of communicating. Even though VoIP has virtually gone mainstream, the concept is still new to many people. However, it's essentially very simple: telephone conversations are routed over the Internet or across an Internet Protocol-based network. Internet telephony and telephony are synonymous with VoIP.
For users, this means that you can use an Internet service already in place. Making a call to a fellow VoIP user in a place far from your own will cost you just as much as calling up a website from the same place. That is, your regular monthly Internet service payment will suffice.
VoIP is almost certainly an important part of the telecommunications field of today, but the industry is still showing its immaturity in 2007. While the advantages of VoIP are clear, there are still numerous issues with service. VoIP seems to have turned the corner and 2006 was indeed "the year of inflection," where sales of IP ports outnumber those of conventional ports.
VoIP works in a few different ways, and these different ways can be related to the type of plan you choose when acquiring service.
Should you buy VoIP, and from whom should you buy it?
You should almost certainly be using VoIP, because you will save a lot of money over conventional phone line usage. We're not just saying that because we're a guide to VoIP; VoIP is almost categorically better than traditional telephone service. In the same way that CD technology replaced records, VoIP should be able to replace traditional phones.
That doesn't mean that you should wait for the telephone system to change - get VoIP now. Consumer Reports, just one of many independent consumer advocates to profile VoIP and other telephone services, says switching to Internet telephony is the number-one way to save money on your phone bill. However, you should read more before you jump onto the VoIP bandwagon, since there are some cons to VoIP.
There are a number of ways that you can get VoIP for free, but it's important to remember that these might be limited in service. Which service provider you should use is another question.