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VoIP is taking the Internet world by storm. VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol is the technology of taking audio and transmitting it as data over the Internet. Traditional phone lines use Circuit Switching (think of the switchboard operators), which is an electric current. VoIP uses Packet Switching that converts audio into data packets and transfers them over the Internet. VoIP is the technology used behind combining Instant Messaging and voice. Many companies are now incorporating free VoIP with their Instant Messaging programs. All that is required is that both parties (or more than two) are using the same program. For instance, the new Yahoo Messenger (actually called Yahoo Messenger with Voice) will let you call your buddies. You will need a microphone and speakers attached to your computer to be able to talk and hear, but these items are cheap and can easily be purchased. Yahoo Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger, MSN, are all integrating with VoIP. This gives people a taste of VoIP, before going out and purchasing VoIP services for their homes or offices.

It is simple to download any of the new VoIP enabled Instant Messengers. They are all free to download. You simply go to their websites, and click on any links that are for the installation of the program, and then follow the instructions. You will need speakers and a microphone-and of course, a soundboard. If you would like to incorporate video with your Instant Messaging, you can hook up a small digital camera or web cam. By combining your audio and video with your free Instant Messenger program, you will have a full quality experience.

This is just a precursor of what the future of VoIP will unveil. There are simply a few glitches in VoIP such as 911 and wireless hotspot issues, for the long run, we can tell that by companies incorporating VoIP shows that they at least believe it will be a strong force.

One of the benefits of VoIP and instant messaging is that it is absolutely free to call anyone, anywhere, worldwide. When VoIP first made its appearance on the Internet, many programs were free. These programs are no longer free, but now offer their services for a fee. Yet, even when purchasing VoIP services, you will still be impressed with the overall nature of VoIP. Calls are unlimited and you will be able to make free long distance calls in the long run.

The programs that still offer free VoIP would be Skype and Ad Calls. These programs will allow you to call using free VoIP programming. Ad Calls will allow you to call a telephone for free.

While many people are opting to go with VoIP, it still has some disadvantages. The main one is that it is hard to use 911 with VoIP. This is because the call is made from your computer network and not a landline phone. 911 will not be able to trace the phone call made from your VoIP phone and retrieve your address. Also, when you place your 911 calls, the dispatcher will not receive any of your location information. The FCC has issued rulings pertaining to this. Some options include registering with 911, when you call 911 giving them your information and location right away, or keeping a landline phone or cell phone available for use in case of an emergency. The latter may be the best solution for enjoying the best of both worlds.

VoIP is becoming increasingly popular and powerhouses like AOL and Verizon are offering VoIP packages. Though free VoIP is still a widely popular choice, it is increasingly harder to find. For those who aren't ready to make the switch, they will continue to take advantage of the options available with instant messaging.

VoIP does offer many advantages that aren't available with landline phones or with cellular. Some of these include the ability to talk with multiple people at once; many of the standard features bundled with regular telephone services come with VoIP packages, and the ability to speak unlimited (many services enable unlimited calling worldwide).

As VoIP continues to progress and more people embrace the idea of combining their telecommunication needs, such as data, audio, video, E-mail, and Web services into one program, VoIP will continue to develop new products

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