VoIP, Voice over IP, is the way of the future starting last year. VoIP lets you use spare broadband capacity to make telephone calls to friends, neighbours, and, most importantly, customers for free.
VoIP is not really free, just a low incremental cost. You already connect to the internet and you already use broadband because life is too precious to wait for anything slower. Frequent VoIP use might jump you up from one broadband plan to the next level but the cost increase is usually far less than the underlying cost of broadband, hence the VoIP cost is just a little bit extra.
You already have a sound system attached to your computer and already have headphones to listen late at night when the neighbours are asleep or to listen without interference from your neighbours when your neighbours are awake . All you need is a microphone to make communication a two way process. Useful microphones cost less than ten dollars, another tiny incremental cost.
When you talk on the phone, you do not use a lot of broadband capacity compared to the total ADSL capacity but ADSL is not balanced for VoIP. ADSL has huge download capacity and a tiny upload capacity. The voice traffic coming in to you could run along side a DVD download without interference because the DVD download is limited by the supplying server and ADSL usually has a greater download capacity. Your voice signal going out to your customer or friend or lover is fighting any other upload traffic for a share of a tiny upload capacity. Do not upload files to your Web site while using VoIP.
VoIP traffic can be interrupted frequently unless you use something named QOS, Quality of Service. Your ISP, Internet Service Provider, might provide QOS on business plans but not on less expensive residential plans. QOS is important when you run a business with a lot of people using the Internet and possibly VoIP because they all crash into each other on the broadband link. QOS is less important when you are the only person using the broadband link because you can choose to not upload massive video files when you are calling customers.
I suggest a video camera so you can make video calls when you and your customers have high speed broadband. Video swamps low cost broadband connections and ADSL connections where you are a long way away form the network connection point, because ADSL service drops off quickly over long distances, so do not try video until you are sure your voice connection is satisfactory and switch video off when it interferes with voice.
Get a good set of headphones. In humid conditions you want a set with open foam between your ears and the headphones so you get good air circulation. This type of open headphone may be called a supra-aural headphone. In a noisy environment you want headphones that completely enclose your ears to keep out the neighbours screaming at each other or the noise from sales manager abusing the
incompetent support staff or the kid next door mowing the lawn at 5:00 am because he can go surfing as soon as the lawn is finished.
Ear buds? Just say no. They must be the single biggest cause of ear infections and damage to your cochlea.
Buy wireless headphones so you can walk around during a long conversation. You improve your blood circulation by walking around, can grab a book off the shelves, and reach every item in your office. Wireless headphones are your biggest single investment to make VoIP work hard for you and a good wireless headset is just $100, about $20 per year of use, less than $10 per year more than the cost of a good wired set.
FREETALK® Wireless Stereo Headset