Thursday, December 28, 2006

VOIP and Skype

Everyone is talking about Voice Over IP (VOIP) and Skype. So I thought I would explain what these terms are, and why you may benefit from this technology.

Voice Over IP is voice communications across the internet. So basically it's a telephone call, but the sound is transmitted across the internet, instead of down a normal phone line. If the people at each end are both using VOIP, and are using the same VOIP provider, the call is usually free. If you call someone on a normal phone line, the sound travels across the internet and only the last leg of the journey is over the normal phone network. This means you can call most parts of the world for the cost of a local call.

There are many different VOIP systems and providers. Some use special phones that plug directly into your broadband connection, and work just like a normal phone. Other VOIP systems like Skype run on your PC, and you speak using a phone handset that plugs into your PC.

Skype - the pros & cons

The main benefits of Skype are
  • It is widely used by domestic PC users. Currently there can be in excess of 8 million Skype users "online" at any one time worldwide
  • It is easy to install and configure, no special expertise is needed to set it up
  • It can run on PC's and Apple Mac's
  • Skype phone handsets are readily available from high street stores

So what are the disadvantages

  • You need to keep your PC turned on to use it
  • It's not as flexible as some of the other VOIP systems


Small businesses would probably be better off with a VOIP system that uses stand alone VOIP phones that plug into your broadband connection directly, and provide advanced features. Please feel free to contact us at ASL Computer Services for more information on business VOIP solutions.

Domestic PC users will appreciate the ease of setting Skype up, and also it's popularity. Your friends and relatives abroad, and in this country, are probably already using Skype. If you want to download Skype visit our website and follow the Skype link on our website main menu.

Chris Moody

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