Net Xpress: Internet telephony having impact on users

May 16, 2004|SHEILA J. CLARK

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 (, Microsoft's MSN Messenger (www.msn and Yahoo Messenger ( 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.


Another layer of Internet telephony includes services that primarily are designed for making voice phone calls over the Internet. This type of telephony includes service such as such as Net2phone ( Net2phone is a pioneer of sorts in this field, as it began providing services back in 1996. Skype (, a newcomer to the field, uses peer to peer technology to make its connections. Skype requires a download of software. It is quick and easy to use because it doesn't require any configuration after the install.

Tune in next week as I continue this journey into VoIP and share with you the newest layer of technology that has spun a revolutionizing twist on Internet telephony. It requires a broadband Internet connection, an adapter and a regular telephone. It's cheaper than having a regular phone line and packed with a ton of extras.

Microsoft patch alert

Microsoft released a new patch under its secondary level of "important" last week. The patch fixes a flaw that is open to Windows XP and XP server operating systems. Learn more.

MSN Live chat events

May 19: Band New Found Glory chats about its new album.

Net buzzz

* Sony finally has announced the price drop on its Playstation 2 console. The price drop of $30 brings the new retail price to $149. The company's announcement of its price drop arrives nearly a month and a half after Microsoft announced the price drop on its Xbox gaming system. Both units allow gamers to play online with other gamers. Read more.

* Apple Computers has been issued a patent for its iTunes software interface. Learn more.

* Opera has released its newest Web browser, version 7.50, with a few new perks such as a new e-mail client, an IRC client and support for newsfeeds. One of the browser's biggest boasts is the fact that its size is only a mere 3.5MB. The browser is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, FreeBSD and Solaris operating systems. Read more.

E-mail me at; fax me at (859) 236-9566; or write me snail-mail at The Advocate-Messenger, P.O. Box 149, Danville, KY 40423-0149.

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