cell phone, using VoIP may be right for you.

Skype and Other Providers

* '''Skype''' is an Internet service that allows users to make traditional telephone calls via computer. Unlike most of its VoIP competitors, Skype uses a genuinely decentralized, peerIP service as well. * '''Gizmo''' is a similar, albeit less famous, program. However, unlike Skype, Gizmo automatically encrypts peerPC services are free (or very cheap), but do require users purchase their means of communications.


* '''Bluetooth Headsets may be a wise investment. However, if you're just looking to relax and make some calls, consider a conventional wired headset instead. Unless you need to pace around the room, a regular headset will be cheaper and have better sound quality. * '''PC headset, not one designed for cell phone use. The PC headsets have two plugs: one for a microphone and one for headphones. * '''USB headset.

Computer Telephones

Phones specifically made for VoIP software are available. They are fairly similar to regular phones in use today but are designed to connect with a computer with a broadband connection rather than a traditional phone jack.

Vonage and Other ISPs

In addition to software like Gizmo and Skype, there are a host of VoIP providers who operate under more traditional phone service models, but do so with a user's broadband connection. These services generally provide hardware that a user hooks up to their broadband router. The user can then treat that hardware like a traditional phone, with the added bonus of being able to move it to any other'> called Vonage "a suitable replacement for your primary phone line." Though Vonage provides a phone for its subscribers, there are plenty of exciting and interesting models for purchase. * '''Vonage Vmove USB Internet phone intended for use with Vonage's phone service. It comes attached to a keychain and includes a headset. It also has 200 MB of hard drive space, a feature becoming more common on IP phones. * '''Vonage WiFi Phone''': The VoIP's Drawbacks * '''Emergency 911 Support''': The primary drawback to dropping your traditional phone service in favor of VoIP is a big one: VoIP providers, with the exception of Packet8, are yet to make significant strides with Emergency 911 calling. Currently, most providers send calls to off-site call centers. However, in order for the service to work, most VoIP providers require users to register their address. Another serious concern is in the case of emergencies during blackouts that could potentially knock out Internet service and thus, interrupt the ability of users to make calls at a time when having communications contact available is most important. * '''Data Security:''' Data security is a more abstract, but very real, concern. Currently, most VoIP services are not sufficiently encrypted. However, there is software currently available on the market that enables providers to encrypt their users' calls. Whether providers take these companies up on their offer is still up in the air. * '''Sound Quality:''' On a more practical level, VoIP service simply doesn't sound as good as POTS. It is prone to latency and interruption when Internet traffic is heavy and forget about uploading sizable content online while using the phone. Performance will likely improve over time, but for now, making a free call over your computer to Peru may prove a less manageable experience than over a dedicated line. Still, if you have a functional cell phone and are tired of paying too much for those calls to China, go with VoIP.