This column will be the first part of two covering Internet telephony and the impact that it currently is having on Internet users.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), or Internet telephony, isn't a totally new concept. In fact, the technology has been around for years. However, in recent years, its growth has made leaps and bounds that ultimately have changed the way folks communicate. In addition, it substantially has lowered their phone bills and increased the amounts of their communication.
VoIP takes your voice and carries it via multiple packets over the Internet as data. As the packets travel over the data lines, they gather back together and convert back into sound before they reach their final destination.
Many of you may be familiar with some of the different types of Internet telephony most commonly being used, such as AOL's AIM (www.aim.com), Microsoft's MSN Messenger (www.msn messenger-download.com) and Yahoo Messenger (http://messenger.yahoo.com/). With these clients, one can conduct text, video and voice chats with other Internet users using the same service. This type of Internet telephony is just the tip of the iceberg. They are referred to as PC to PC calls and they are unlimited and free to make.