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Talk Is Cheap

Book Description

Fed up with the high tolls charged by your ordinary telephone service? If you're itching to cut the copper cord with your costly, traditional phone service, you need Talk is Cheap, the new, easy-to-understand guide to understanding and using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and other Internet telephone options. Technologies such as VoIP are gaining a great deal of attention these days as more people switch from standard telephone service to phone service via the Internet. But while the cost savings are outstanding, there are some issues with Internet telephony that you should know about. Are the connections reliable? Is the quality comparable? Will it include 911 services? James Gaskin's Talk is Cheap addresses these issues and many more by explaining how to make the switch and what the tradeoffs will be if you opt for Internet telephony over traditional phone services. Talk is Cheap focuses on the increasingly popular services from Vonage, which uses VoIP, and Skype--a free service that operates as a peer-to-peer (P2P) network with the ability to turn any PC, Mac, or Pocket PC into a telephone. The book explains your options; explores the background behind, the workings of, and differences between VoIP and P2P networks; and discusses the advantages and drawbacks of both technologies (including service offerings, quality, capabilities, completion rates, and more). Talk is Cheap then goes into detail on what you can expect in Internet service from traditional phone companies such as Verizon and AT&T. In addition, you will learn more advanced techniques, including how to turn your Palm or Pocket PC into an Internet phone and how to work with Wi-Fi phones and videophones. A straightforward, quick introduction to the ins and outs of using Internet telephone services, this book provides everything you need to make informed telephone decisions--whether you're thinking about the switch from traditional phone service or have already made it and want to get the most out of your new Internet telephone.

Table of Contents

  1. Talk is Cheap
    1. Preface
      1. About This Book
      2. Why You Need to Use This Book
      3. How This Book Is Organized
      4. Who This Book Is For
      5. Conventions Used in This Book
      6. I’d Like to Hear from You
      7. Comments and Questions
      8. Safari Enabled
      9. Acknowledgments
      10. Dedication
    2. 1. How Internet Telephone Calls Work
      1. Analog to Digital, Voice to Data
        1. Moving from Analog to Digital
        2. Analog to Digital Examples
      2. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol)
        1. Minimum Requirements
        2. Basic Internet Telephony Overview
        3. More Internet Telephony Detail
      3. Riding the Internet Past the Telephone Companies
        1. The Bell Wall Breaks in 1968
        2. Innovators from Everywhere
        3. Bits Are Bits
        4. Regulatory Issues
      4. Redial
    3. 2. Your Internet Phone
      1. Phone-Centric Providers
        1. Vonage
        2. Other Internet Telephone Service Companies
      2. Computer-Centric Providers
        1. Skype
        2. Other Peer-to-Peer Telephone Providers
        3. Peer-to-Peer to Public Telephone Network Connections
        4. Virtual Numbers
      3. What’s Old Is New Again: Internet Telephony from Phone Companies
        1. Leveraging Copper
        2. Verizon and AT&T
        3. SBC and Qwest and BellSouth
      4. Redial
    4. 3. Free Internet Phone Features that You’re Paying for Now
      1. Saving Money
        1. SBC Charges Versus Broadband Phone Charges
        2. Calls at Zero Cents Per Minute
      2. Handling, or Not, Calls
        1. Caller ID
        2. Call Waiting
        3. Call Forwarding
        4. Conference Calling
      3. Other Features
        1. Choose Your Area Code
        2. Encrypted Conversations
        3. Free Branch Office Connections
      4. Optional ($$) Features
        1. Virtual Numbers
        2. 800 Numbers
        3. Video Phones
      5. Redial
    5. 4. hoosing Your Internet Phone Equipment
      1. Phone-Centric Equipment
        1. Get a New Broadband Router (Free)
        2. Use Your Current Router
        3. Adding Extension Phones
      2. Computer-Centric Equipment
        1. Quick and Cheap (Less Than $30)
        2. Medium Quality, Medium Bucks ($30-$100)
        3. High-End Voice Tools (More Than $100)
      3. Beyond Standard Voice to Video
      4. Redial
    6. 5. Vonage and Other Broadband Phone Carriers
      1. Broadband Phone Carriers
      2. What You Get with a Broadband Phone
        1. Standard Features
        2. Advanced Features
        3. Optional ($$) Features
        4. 911 Support
        5. Comparing Providers
      3. Before You Sign Up
        1. What You Need
        2. What It Costs
        3. Decision Checklist for New Users
      4. Signing Up
      5. After You Sign Up
        1. Monitoring Your Account
          1. Vonage’s Dashboard
          2. Voicemail management
          3. Managing other features
        2. Monitoring Costs
          1. Billing information online
          2. Account information
        3. What Vonage Forgets to Tell You
          1. Technical details they don’t mention
          2. Business details they don’t mention
      6. Troubleshooting
        1. Vonage Help Pages
        2. Top Troubleshooting Tips
        3. Reboot
      7. Redial
    7. 6. Skype and Other Computer-centric Services
      1. Skype and Competitors
        1. The SIP World
          1. SIPphone
          2. FreeWorld Dialup
        2. Skype
      2. Stumbling Blocks
        1. Getting the Firewall Out of the Way
        2. Regulations
      3. Computer-Centric Phone Features
        1. Standard Skype Features
        2. Advanced Skype Features
          1. PDA support
          2. Presence
        3. Future Skype Features
          1. Voicemail
          2. SkypeIn
          3. Skype for Business
        4. Services Comparison
          1. Computer-centric features
          2. Compared to Vonage
          3. Passion
      4. How to Sign Up
      5. Requirements
      6. How Much?
      7. Decision Checklist for New Users
      8. Using Skype
        1. Calling Skype Users
        2. Chat (Instant Message)
        3. File Transfer
        4. Client Configuration
      9. Managing Your Account
        1. The Skype Web Site
        2. Your Skype Application
      10. Skype for the Pocket PC
      11. What Skype Forgets to Tell You
        1. Technical Details They Don’t Mention
        2. Business Details They Don’t Mention
      12. Troubleshooting
      13. Redial
    8. 7. 911, Alarms, and Other Outgoing Calls
      1. 911 Issues
        1. Broadband Phone Providers and 911 Today
        2. How Broadband Phone Providers Should Be Handling 911 Calls Today
        3. Broadband Phone Providers and 911 Tomorrow
      2. Alarm Systems and TV Device Phone Links
        1. Alarm System Advice
        2. Satellite and TiVo Phone Link Advice
      3. SkypeOut
        1. Signing Up
        2. Calling Your Non-Skype Friends
        3. Tracking SkypeOut Usage
      4. Broadband Enhancements to Traditional Telephone Services
        1. CallWave
        2. Teleo
      5. Redial
    9. 8. Tricks, Tips, and Techniques for Advanced Users
      1. Adding Phone Extensions by Rewiring or Other Options
        1. Plan A—Expandable Cordless Phones
        2. Plan B—Wireless Phone Jacks
        3. Plan C—Rewiring
          1. Broad steps
          2. Detailed instructions
      2. Improving Your Call Quality
        1. Manage Your Bandwidth
        2. Upgrade Your Headset
        3. Quality of Service Technology
      3. Conference Calls
      4. Skype Instant Messaging Tricks
      5. Broadband Phone Politics
      6. Redial
    10. 9. Go Wireless
      1. Skype and SIP-Friendly Cordless Phones
        1. Olympia Cordless Phone with USB Plug
        2. Adapters for Computer-Centric Softphones
      2. Wi-Fi Internet Phones
        1. ZyXEL Prestige 2000W Version 2
        2. UTStarcom F-1000
        3. Calling Considerations
      3. Futures
      4. Redial
    11. Index