Computer Telephony Software

Home videophone technology comes of age

VoIP and computer telephony may be the most hyped change in technology since the internet. The hype says that traditional telephone service is going to be replaced entirely by VoIP, which essentially “breaks into” traditional phone lines, and the biggest catch is that you need to have broadband. Aside from that, the only thing that seems necessary is to hook up and start saving money (lots of it, if you currently spend a lot).

Computer Telephony Cautions
The price of VoIP is going down steadily, too, as more competitors enter the market. There are a few basic cautions, of course. Should something happen to your PC or your internet connection, you will lose your VoIP service.

It also requires a power supply, as well, so if you are in an area where the power is unstable, you may want to think twice.

Security is another critical issue. It is common to hear about people hacking into networks and systems, and the same vulnerabilities are inherent in VoIP. Hackers can theoretically break into your system and listen in on conversations. Privacy (personal, business and other) is probably more vulnerable with VoIP then it is with traditional telephone service.

Of course, if power supply and wiretapping are not issues for you go ahead and VoIP. If they are, you may have bigger may problems than saving money on your phone bill.

The same precautions apply here that apply when buying any software. In addition, there are a number of things you can do to make your purchase of VoIP (or internet telephony) software a wise one. They are as follows:

  • Be sure that the VoIP is serviceable with your internet connection. Not all VoIP providers will support dial up. In fact, the notion of dial up and phone lines may be anathema to them. That said there are companies that oblige dial-up nicely.
  • Getting a call system with a boom microphone or a headset is usually more conducive to clarity with no feedback and less annoyance.
Some top internet telephony providers are as follows:

VoIP Software Provider

Home VoIP Plan

Business VoIP Plan

AT&T (CallVantage)*

$29/mo

n/a

Lingo

$14/mo

$49/mo

Speakeasy

$290/mo

n/a

SureVoice

$12/mo

$39/mo

Verizon (VoiceWing)*

$33/mo

n/a

Vonage

$14/mo

$39/mo

*note (as of 2005)—both these providers ask for a one year contract. The rest do not require any contract.

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