Archive for November, 2009

The Layman’s Guide to Making Free Online Calls with VoIP

So you’ve heard the news: a new technology is around that lets you make phone calls, even long-distance phone calls, for free! You’d like to try it, but it sounds rather complicated. What is this VoIP, anyway? Here’s a quick question-and-answer guide to VoIP and how you can make free online calls without reading tons of technical jargon.

What is VoIP?

VoIP means Voice over Internet Protocol. In plain English, it means that in exactly the same way you use the Internet to send letters through email, you can now send your voice through VoIP, to make free phone calls to anywhere in the world.

How does it work?

1. You talk through your computer microphone or your VoIP phone.

2. Your voice is turned into computer data.

3. It is sent through the Internet (like email) to your VoIP service provider.

4. They send it to the phone number you are calling so your friend can receive your call.

5. When your friend talks on his phone, his voice reaches you the same way, but in reverse: from his phone, to your service provider, to your Internet, to your phone or computer.

How is the sound quality different from a regular phone?

With good Internet connection, your friend won’t know the difference. If your connection is slow, you will sound like you are calling from a cellphone with bad signal. Most companies will not install VoIP for dial-up connections.

What is a VoIP service provider?

A VoIP service provider is like a phone company that connects your VoIP phone to your friend’s landline.

What is a VoIP phone?

It looks like a regular phone, but it has a software and modem installed so you can connect to the Internet and make VoIP calls without having to turn on your computer. You dial it like a regular phone, and if somebody calls your VoIP number, it rings like a regular phone.

Are the phone calls really free?

Yes, if you download and install on your computer a VoIP software, like Skype. This will let you make free calls to anyone in the world who has the same software loaded in his or her computer.

You can also use Skype or other VoIP service providers to call a local or long-distance landline number or mobile phone. There will be a small charge, but it is still much cheaper than if you use a regular phone to make your call. In addition, pay features on regular phones-like call waiting, call forwarding, call barring, conference calls, caller ID and voice mail-are usually free on VoIP.

Rates and features vary with different service providers so be sure to ask your company what they offer.

Can I call my friends even if they don’t have VoIP?

Yes.

And can my friends call me?

Yes. Your friends can call your VoIP number in the same way they call a regular landline. You won’t be charged for incoming calls. Your friends will be charged for their call in the same way that they will be charged for calling a regular landline.

Can I keep my old phone number?

Yes, depending on your VoIP service provider. Sometimes, you can even bring your VoIP phone-along with your phone number – to anywhere that has a high-speed Internet connection.

Some providers also allow you to get a phone number with a different area code. You could be in California but have a New York area code so that your business clients in New York can call you without long-distance charges. (However, if your next-door neighbor calls you, it will be long-distance for her.)

Can I get rid of my regular phone line?

Usually, yes. Again, it depends on your VoIP service provider.

An important note, though: 911 calls made through VoIP are unreliable. Also, they will not be able to track your location automatically, as when you are using a regular phone. If you get rid of your phone line, consider using your cellphone instead of your VoIP to call 911.

So, what do I need to use VoIP? A high-speed Internet connection. This means DSL or cable, NOT dial-up. A regular phone with VoIP adaptor OR a VoIP phone OR a computer with a microphone and earpiece. A VoIP service provider.

Can I use VoIP without an Internet connection?

No.

Can I use my computer while talking on the VoIP phone?

Absolutely, although using the Internet for other purposes while using VoIP may affect the quality of your call.

Can I use VoIP without a computer?

Yes, if you have a VoIP phone and your Internet is active.

Can I use VoIP without a VoIP phone line?

Yes, if you have a computer with a VoIP program, a microphone and earpiece.

Will it work in a power outage?

Unfortunately, no.

How do I know if VoIP is for me?

VoIP is a great money-saving option for people who are always on the Internet, and VoIP is a great money-saving option for people who have a high-speed connection.

VoIP is a great money-saving option for people who often make calls to long-distance, international, or mobile numbers.

VoIP is a great money-saving option for people who move around the country, and VoIP is a great money-saving option for people who would like to take their landline number with them wherever they go.

VoIP is a great money-saving option for people who need to have an area code in another locality.

How do I find a VoIP service provider?

For VoIP calls using your computer, you can simply download a VoIP program like Skype or Vonage from the Internet.

To find a service provider for VoIP phones, simply type “VoIP” and the name of your country in the search bar of your favorite Internet search engine.

Security of VoIP calls encouraged as claims made that danger can be caused if it is not

Companies are being encouraged to consider the security of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) as much as data.

Ian Kilpatrick, chairman of the Wick Hill Group, claimed that putting both data and voice on the same network could lead to problems, as storing both on the same network could double the risk.

Upon Wick Hill’s appointment as a distributor for Samsung’s OfficeServ and Ubigate voice ranges, Kilpatrick further claimed that a very strong growth in VoIP has been indicated and there is a very high interest in purchasing security.

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Top 5 VoIP Problems and Solving Methods

As is known to many, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a phone system for both incoming and outgoing phone calls using the broadband Internet – dispensing with the traditional method. Today, VoIP phone system is favored by many self-employed professionals and business houses for its several key features including voicemail, call forwarding, and caller ID.

It needs to be mentioned that VoIP phone system for business that regularly communicates with overseas clients as the savings can be enormous. Switching over to VoIP is not only cost-effective, but also relatively easy if you already have broadband Internet – the basic pre-requisite for using VoIP system. This is not to say that VoIP phone systems will never give the user any problems.

VoIP suppliers believe, and rightly too, that a well-informed user can be a greater beneficiary in using all the extraordinary features VoIP offers at minimal cost. One of the chief attractions of VoIP is sending faxes and the fact remains that many business houses do a lot of faxing.

It has to be conceded that faxing over VoIP is only an incidental benefit and can achieved only with moderate success and that too, after a few settings have been made on the fax machine. The settings include lowering the Baud rate to 9600 and disabling the error correction mode. You must also ascertain from your VoIP provider what codecs they offer, as in most cases a G711 codec would be required for using faxes.

Apart from faxing the most likely common problems that may occur and their likely solutions are:

Not receiving all incoming calls: If the IAD is unable to register with your VoIP provider, then there will be loss of incoming calls. If you have voicemail facility on your VoIP account, then your provider will route the call to your voicemail. You may ask your VoIP provider for providing voicemail, so that calls can be redirected. Another option is a feature called “Call Forwarding upon the Loss of Registration”. If this feature is enabled, then during loss of your Internet connection, the call will automatically get forwarded to a preset number.

Despite having broadband Internet, unable to make outgoing calls due to absence of dial tone: Check for a corresponding light on phone no: 1 provided you have a Linksys router/IAD. If there is no light, reboot the IAD. If the light on phone 1is present, then try connecting a phone directly to the IAD without any devices or splitters between the IAD and the phone. If need be, change phone cords and/or the phone.

My calls sound unclear and quite often choppy: Disturbed audio is usually caused either due to inadequate bandwidth or from Internet congestion. Contact your ISP for a higher level of service with more bandwidth. If you find the problem occurring far too often, let the ISP check your connection. VoIP providers sometimes offer a more compressed codec or bandwidth saver setting. Changing the codec is known to solve the problem in many cases.

There is an echo sound that is annoying: Decrease the volume of the phones to prevent feedback. Take out any separate caller ID’s or splitters.

Static or buzzing noise: Buzzing noise or static is most likely the result of analog or electrical interference into the phone lines or phone. Make sure the cordless phones are charged and do not have weak batteries in the handset. Change channels on the phone to see which one is best. Try connecting a phone directly to the IAD to see if the buzzing ceases.

Cyril Bird is a SEO copywriter for VoIP Phone Service, Internet Fax Service and PBX Phone System. He has written many articles in various topics like Toll Free Numbers, 800 Numbers and Phone Service.

Introduction to VoIP Technology

Voice over Internet Protocol, also called VoIP or Internet telephony, is the transportation of voice conversations over the internet or through any other IP-based network rather than the public switched telephone network (PSTN).

Protocols which are used to carry voice signals over the IP network are commonly referred to as Voice over IP or VoIP protocols. Some cost savings are due to utilizing a single network to carry voice and data. Users that have existing underutilized network capacity can use VoIP at no additional cost. VoIP to VoIP phone calls on any provider are typically free, while VoIP to PSTN calls generally costs the VoIP user.

There are two types of PSTN to VoIP services: DID (Direct Inward Dialing) and access numbers. DID connects the caller directly to the VoIP user, while access numbers require the caller to input the extension number of the VoIP user. Access numbers are usually charged as a local call to the caller and free to the VoIP user, while DID usually has a monthly fee. One can also find DID that are free to the VoIP user but charge the caller instead.

Key features of VoIP:

VoIP can facilitate tasks that may be more difficult to achieve using traditional networks, such as:
• Routing phone calls over existing data networks to avoid the need for separate voice and data networks.
• Incoming phone calls can be automatically routed to your VoIP phone, regardless of where you are connected to the network. Take your VoIP phone with you on a trip, and receive incoming calls whenever you are connected to the Internet.
• Free phone numbers for use with VoIP are available in the USA, UK and other countries from several organizations.
• Call center agents using VoIP phones can work from anywhere with a sufficiently fast and stable Internet connection.
• Many VoIP packages include PSTN features that most Telcos normally charge extra for, or may be unavailable from your local Telco, such as 3-way calling, call forwarding, automatic redial, and caller ID.
• VoIP allows users to travel anywhere in the world and still make and receive phone calls.

Flexibility:

• VoIP service users can make and receive local phone calls regardless of their location. For example, if a user has a US phone number and is traveling in Europe and someone calls the US phone number, it will ring in Europe. Conversely, if a call is made from Europe to US, it will be treated as a local call. Of course, there must be a connection to the internet, for e.g. Wi-Fi, to make all of this possible.
• Users of Instant Messenger based VoIP services can also travel anywhere in the world and make and receive phone calls.
• VoIP phones can integrate with other services available over the Internet, including video conversation, message or data file exchange, in parallel with the conversation, audio conferencing, managing address books and passing information about whether others (e.g. friends or colleagues) are available online to interested parties.

SigVoice Telecom http://www.sigvoice.com, is a provider of Voice over IP (VoIP) equipment http://www.sigvoice.com/products.html to small and medium businesses in Canada and the US. A no-charge consultation service is available to discuss VoIP technology and suitable options for users.

Waqas Taimoor is a Sales Manager at SigVoice Telecom Corp., provider of Voice over IP (VoIP) equipment to small and medium businesses in Canada and the US. SigVoice has been serving small and medium businesses since 2005 with its reliable, stable and enterprise-class VoIP Phone Systems.

Black Box Veri-NAC

Black Box Veri-NAC provides agentless detection, alerting and blocking of attacks against a variety of network devices, including managed switches, VoIP phone ports and insecure wireless routers. It also protects against IP and MAC spoofing by trust lists. It uses a Dynamic Detection System that monitors for new network devices and audits them for vulnerabilities.

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WatchGuard introduces multifunction security appliance series

WatchGuard Technologies has launched the multifunction security appliance series WatchGuard XTM 8.

According to WatchGuard, the XTM 8 Series achieves a faster-than-line-speed 1.2Gbps throughput, delivers 5Gbps firewall throughput and includes stateful packet inspection, deep packet inspection and WatchGuard’s proprietary proxy technology.

It includes application-level security for SIP and H.323 protocols that conceal business VoIP systems and simultaneously harden them to repel directory harvesting attacks, input validation hacks (buffer overflows), and other VoIP threats.

It also provides application inspection and port and protocol identification to ensure application traffic is valid and safe. Additionally, the WatchGuard HTTPS inspection works in tandem with IM and P2P application blocking, which foils even those bots that use encryption to evade detection.

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