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Establish VoIP from my home DSL line

I like to know if I am able to establish VoIP from my home DSL line. If I can than what equipment would I need to do that and what might it cost. I would be waiting for your reply very anxiously.
There are a couple of different scenarios where you could use your DSL line for VoIP. The VoIP could be:

  1. PC to PC. This is where you are calling from your PC to another PC that is know by you. This is the least expensive option and only requires that both PCs have some specialized software and the appropriate audio equipment (speakers, microphone) in addition to having pretty good Internet connectivity. This could cost either nothing or up to around $100 depending on what you have to buy. A couple of examples of software are: Gphone, CyberTalkOnline. Of course the limitation here is that you can only the appropriate audio equipment (speakers, microphone) in addition to having pretty good Internet connectivity call other PCs/people who have PCs configured to receive these calls.
  2. PC to telephone/PSTN (public switched telephone network) using a VOIP service provider. This is where you are calling from your PC to anyone's phone number. This will require that you subscribe to a VOIP service provider like Net2Phone or Gphone in addition to having the appropriate equipment (speakers, microphone or IP phone) and pretty good Internet connectivity. You can read about Net2Phone's service at:
    http://dcs.net2phone.com/products/commcenter/features.asp
    These service providers will normally charge you a per minute fee but it will be lower than the cost from a traditional telephone company.
  3. Telephone to telephone/PSTN. It is possible for you to connect an IP phone into your DSL service and make calls directly to call a telephone on the PSTN. This is the most expensive option and will likely cost several thousand dollars - the most expensive part would be setting up the gateway to the PSTN. An alternative would be to us an IP phone with a VOIP service provider (this would be a variant of #2) and would be much cheaper than setting up your own gateway.

Here are a couple of good general references that you can look at too: http://www.howstuffworks.com/ip-telephony4.htm
http://www.microsoft.com/serviceproviders/products/teleservices.asp

There are two things that have significantly slowed down the deployment of VoIP these days:

  • Long distance rates in the U.S. have dropped a lot so only people who use lots of minutes may find significant cost savings. Of course there are situations where the savings can still be significant. Examples are a) a boyfriend/girlfriend who have a long distance relationship and spend countless hours on the phone or b) someone who makes lots of phone calls to a country where the per minute rates are very expensive.
  • Cell phone plans that include long distance and have lots of minutes or free weekends/nights. Many people have found that with these plans they don't really need long distance service on a traditional home phone.
  • This was last published in February 2003

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