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"Voice Over IP"

VoIP, Voice over IP (Internet Protocol), is telephone communication across the Internet. IP is data going all over the place on the Net, and then with VoIP what happens is that the audio in phone calls can be converted to data and shoved down the same system as the Internet. the obvious advantage is not having to pay for phone calls.

It's true. Phone calls, audio, and video, and other types of communication, can be mingled into the data stream and reconstituted at the other end.

One of the early pioneers of VoIP was Skype, who we have been very keen to promote, although I was a bit shocked to hear (2005) Skype has been bought out by eBay. Although we don't mind eBay some of the time, we don't want the world to be taken over by monopoly interests, so, the next question is how many other places are doing VoIP? Is there genuine competition in the world? There should be! Another name in VoIP is Vonage, and there's also Verizon Voice Wing

The key feature to breaking up of any likely monopoly in this field is to find out what's going on with Linux. There is already (2005) a VoIP application known as Linphone in distributions of Linux.

When checking any of these new developments it's important to check if it's "proprietary" or "open source". Many of the mistakes in the computer technology market in the past have been because of "lock in" where folk have got accustomed to using some particular thing (.doc for example), and then found out later there are problems.

Now that Skype has sold out to eBay, I am particularly keen to see if there are other companies in the VoIP business having an affiliate program where we could promote them as well as we are promoting Skype! This would be good for business and would also see a competitive market which would be good for customers. (As a side point, I'm surprised the proper banks haven't done something about the PayPal nonsense that's been going on!Virgin Media Surely HSBC / Barclays / Lloyds etc could set up a decent international money transfer system?!)

Anyway, back to the VoIP business, as far as we know so far, purveyors of international phone calls through your computer's Internet connection include:Verizon Voice Wing





X10Vonage VoIP

Virgin Media


Tesco Internet Phone

BT Broadband Talk service (Voip)BT Broadband

Linux VoIP



Also, it's worth making a point of knowing whether these systems are all compatible with each other. As far as we know, they generally are, unless any of them have been deliberately designed to eliminate being compatible, in which case of course we hope customers have the good sense to make the right decision and avoid. The future's looking good, provided we insist it should be!

It is typical for newfangled technologies to be opposed by vested interests. The printing press, motor car, and automated weaving loom have all faced an opposition as they were "disruptive technology" at the time. Now VoIP is facing some opposition from some governments, monopoly interest phone companies, and some large organisations. Some of these entities have legitimate concerns and some are just being oldfashioned. There are several sides to the story of the blocking of VoIP and various solutions.

Another point: Some of these VoIP services are "real ones" where you can have your VoIP service regardless of where you get your Internet connection from, ie you can have just the service and it's not tied to any other service. However, some are tied to another service, for example the one that's tied to Sky TV

For videophone systems, it's worth having a look at X10 Video Calling