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To use Voice over Internet Protocol, you will need some basic things. First needed is an up to date computer with High Speed Internet access. You will also need to have updated audio and video Codecs as well as the updated version of DivX. You can keep your computer updated by utilizing your Windows Update program.

You will also need to decide which service provider you will like to use. A good idea is to make a written list of your needs, wants, and features in a phone. This will help you compare different plans and choose the service provider that will best fit your needs. If you are looking for residential or business service, make sure that you note that in your list. Residential plans usually come in two forms- basic (which is a certain amount of minutes) and unlimited (which will give you unlimited local and long distance talk time). Business plans can include amenities such as multiple phones, greater minute talk time, greater unlimited calling plans, business features bundled with your plan, faxing and voicemail to your computer capabilities, and extras such as yellow page listings. Check with the company to find the plan that meets your requirements. The service provider that you select will also let you know what type of computer requirements you will need. Make sure that your computer is up to date and in compliance with your chosen provider's requirements.

You will also need a Telephony Adapter. Your VoIP service provider will provide this.

With a phone adapter you will be able to transform your household phone into a phone that will work with your VoIP service. Phone adapters simply plug in to your Cable or DSl modem by an Ethernet cable, and then you can connect your telephone to the adapter with a phone jack. You can also connect a portable phone to the adapter and have a portable phone that operates on your VoIP service. This is not to be confused with a cellular phone; this is just a standard portable phone to be used indoors.

You will also have the option of choosing your phone number. This is one of the best features that VoIP has to offer. If you just want to transfer your old number to your new VoIP system, check with your service provider before making your final decision. Many VoIP providers will allow you to transfer your phone number. If you want to select a different area code, this option has many advantages. First, for friends and family members who don't have unlimited long distance calling, selecting the same area code as them can save them money. They will appreciate being able to call you as if it were a local call.

This strategy is also very beneficial for those whose businesses are targeting specific areas. Say there is a California company, yet they want to increase business in Tampa, Florida. By selecting the Tampa, Florida area code, they can increase sales and productivity by having a local number for customers to call. This also reduces the need for a toll free number.

You will also need to install your features and activate them. This can be done easily over the Internet.

VoIP comes with many features included in your service plan. For residential customers these include Voicemail, Caller ID, Call Forwarding, Call Block, and Do Not Disturb. Always check with your service provider for a detailed listing of the features included with your plan. For Small businesses, amenities such as multi phone users, free fax lines, and integrating your VoIP and web features are all available. VoIP also contains many of the same features bundled with basic plans as well. When you are choosing a provider, compare their business plans and select the one that best fits your business needs.

As VoIP technology continues to advance, a new array of accessories appears on the market. Today you can choose from VoIP phones, headsets, and even VoIP videophones that work as a web camera incorporating video with your audio.

Finally, you will need to enjoy using your VoIP service. Whether you choose basic or unlimited plans, you will find that VoIP provides more freedom, reliability, high standards of quality, and the most cost efficient method of handling your telecommunications needs then thought possible

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