VoIP headsets review

Heard the buzz about VoIP and want to know what all the fuss is about?
 
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  • Updated:4 Jun 2006
 

05.Making internet calls

An internet phone call is a process where the voice signal is broken into small blocks of data, called packets, transmitted over the internet and then reassembled at the other end. The major benefit over a regular phone is that you can save money on calls.

There are several ways to make internet phone calls:

Free software from the internet, such as Skype, and a headset plugged into your computer.

Pros:

  • You can chat to other people on the same service for free.
  • There’s no setup, monthly or usage charge.
  • You can also use a webcam with the headset to have video conversations.
  • You can try internet phone calls without having to outlay much money.

Cons:

  • You generally have to be in front of your computer and pre-arrange call times so that the other person’s at their computer and on the internet at the time you call.
  • If you ring mobiles or landline phones in Australia or overseas, you’ll have to pay for the calls, although the cost is lower than standard landline-to-landline or landline-to-mobile calls.
  • You may not get as many features as other internet phone call services.

Tip: You can also use a microphone and speakers, instead of a headset.

Instant messenger programs, such as Yahoo! Messenger, MSN Messenger and GoogleTalk, with a headset

Pros:

  • You can chat to other people on the same service for free.
  • There’s no setup, monthly or usage charge.
  • You can also use a webcam with the headset to have video conversations.
  • You can try internet phone calls without having to outlay much money.

Cons:

  • You must be in front of your computer and pre-arrange call times so that the other person’s at their computer and on the internet at the time you call.
  • Some services let you call mobiles or landline phones in Australia or overseas, but you’ll have to pay for the calls, although the cost is much lower than standard landline-to-landline or landline-to-mobile calls.
  • You may not get as many features as other internet phone call services.

A paid internet service with your computer and a headset

Pros:

  • You'll probably get extra features such as voicemail, call waiting and call forwarding.
  • You may also get a phone number that lets anybody ring you.

Cons:

  • The computer must be turned on to make or take calls.
  • Not all providers let you use a headset - you may need to buy special hardware.

A paid service that uses your landline phone and adaptor or internet phone connected to your modem

Pros:

  • You'll probably get extra features such as voicemail, call waiting and call forwarding.
  • You usually also get a phone number that lets anybody ring you.
  • Your computer doesn't have to be turned on to make or take calls.

Cons:

  • You may need to invest in some fairly expensive hardware.
  • It may not be worthwhile if you don't make many calls.

A bundled plan with your ISP that includes internet phone calls, and an adaptor or internet phone connected to your modem

Pros:

  • One plan combines internet, fixed-line and VoIP access.
  • Your computer doesn't have to be turned on to make or take calls.

Cons:

  • You may need to invest in some fairly expensive hardware.
  • It may not be worthwhile if you don't make many phonecalls.
 

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