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VoIP: the future of healthcare communications?

Newton Meckley has written this good summary of Voice over IP telephony. Please note some of the article is only relevant to US readers.

Voice over Internet Protocol lets you make a telephone call using your computer and its high speed network. The voice signal from your telephone converts to voice over Internet protocol technology to a digitized signal that lets it be delivered across the Internet. Then when it gets to the person you're calling it changes back to regular telephone technology.

You can have a traditional phone conversation calling any standard phone number. When you call with Voip using your land line phone using the adapter for VoIP you get a dial tone just as usual and you dial just the way you always did. VoIP sometimes lets you call directly from your PC using an ordinary microphone or standard telephone.

There are two options for calling by VoIP. The first is to install an adaptor to your broadband Internet connection.
This way the call would actually go through your local phone carrier to a provider of VoIP. The call goes out over the Internet to the local phone carrier of the person you are calling to have the call completed.

Another way you can use VoIP is to plug a headset with microphone into your PC or laptop and then dial from your keyboard and route it through your cable modem. To get your VoIP telephone connection active you'll need the use of a cable modem or other high- speed connection such as local area network or DSL. You can directly connect a telephone directly to the phone adaptor or buy an inexpensive microphone and hook it up directly to the computer.

Costs for VoIP services vary by provider. Some charge nothing for their services if you're calling people who are also their subscribers. Your provider of voice over Internet Protocol might permit you to choose an area code that is not your local home area code. What this will do is give you free local calls to this area code, which saves on the long distance charges. It can affect the price of calls that people make to you, however, either negatively or positively.

If your VoIP offers this service you'd want to choose an area code that is most active for your outgoing as well as incoming calls. There are VoIP providers that charge long distance fees just as the local carriers do - for calls outside your local calling area. Others charge you a flat rate to call anywhere for a predetermined maximum number of minutes.

Who you can call with VoIP depends on which provider you use. You might be only able to call those who have the same provider or you might be able to make a call to anyone you choose anywhere in any country. You can make a VoIP call to a local landline, a cell phone, or a long distance domestic or international call. VoIP even allows conference calls.

Whoever you are calling does not need VoIP, an adapter or even a computer. They just need a phone like any other call.

VoIP's unusual features are because of its being digital. With VoIP and your high speed Internet connection you can save telephone service charges. The plus side of VoIP is financial, with the reduction in phone use fees.

The con side of VoIP is that some standard services are missing that you're used to with your phone carrier such as 911 service, directory assistance and access to listings in the white pages. Also, its connection to electrical power can be a negative if the power goes out.

Newton Meckley is the owner and operator of Mico Voip Ltd which is an excellent place to find VoIP links, resources and articles. For more information on this article, please visit: http://www.micovoip.com/.

Also see the posting on Vocera.


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While it is the phone savings that are often cited as reasons for VOIP, I think it is the flexibility that digital voice/phone allows.

One can more easily put out custom scripts depending on the caller (or other factors.)

We are just touching the surface of the features that might be included, at a minimal cost.

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