Looking for a natural voice speech engine? Curious about what software can read your e-mails. Here is the latest TTS (text-to-speach) news.
AT&T Natural Voices
AT&T Natural Voices are available in 16khz or 8khz Versions. The 16khz versions have a richer, fuller sound and are more natural sounding. The 8khz version is slightly less expensive and takes up less disk space, but generally doesn't sound quite as good. A good analogy might be that 16khz voices sound like voices over FM Radio, while 8khz voices sound much more like voices over the telephone.
Kate and Paul are US English voices, available in 16khz or 8khz versions, supporting SAPI5 Speech applications including all NextUp.com Products, most newer TTS programs from other companies, as well as TTS functions built into Windows XP. Each voice requires slightly under 300mb of disk space, and is available on CD or via download. They support speed and pitch adjustments, and require a minimum of Pentium II, 400mhz with 128mb RAM.
TextAloud converts any text into spoken words. Instead of the valuable time you spend reading on your computer, imagine being free to relax, get up and stretch, or work on other things while the information you need is read to you in a pleasant, natural sounding human voice. Better still, leave your computer behind. TextAloud's unique Text to MP3 conversion can save your daily reading to MP3 audio files to download to your portable MP3 player. Listen to email, online news, or important documents while you exercise, work or commute.
NewsAloud personal news agent finds the stories you want, then reads them aloud in a natural, human sounding voice. Stop plowing through email or spending hours surfing the net for the news that interests you. Instead let NewsAloud do it so you can listen while you work on something else, or get your news to go and listen while you excercise, commute, or get outside for a change.
Posted by VoIP Phone Service at 10:42 PM
? Computer phones (VoIP) offer the most optimal means of communicating when considering quality and cost, and can save businesses up to 80% on their phone bills when calling from PC to PC, to landlines, or to mobile phones, regardless of company size.
? Over 90% of all VoIP solutions providers operate on unsecure lines or platforms, whether free or charging for services.
? Greater than 95% of all VoIP solutions providers do not have their own patented technology
? Calls placed on unsecure lines travel from one computer (IP address) over the internet to another computer (IP address) have little or no protection in between calls to guard against terminal viruses, Trojan horses, unscrupulous hackers, or uninvited guests listening in on private conversations.
These unsecure lines leave users dangerously vulnerable to the inevitable and expensive computer crash that forebodingly looms over the horizon.
? Calls placed on secure lines go through a VoIP platform (server) that incorporates its own security (including patented technology) against the ills of unsecure lines, thereby offering maximum security, privacy, and peace of mind for its users.
? Note: higher enrollment and monthly fees, or well known phone companies now offering VoIP services do not necessarily automatically guarantee security.
? Contact your VoIP solutions provider (if applicable) and request written information regarding security of their service, along with patented technology they own. Ask if their service hosts embedded spyware on lines and/or allows public access to names and numbers of subscribers.
If the requested assurances cannot be produced, take immediate action to avoid playing Russian Roulette with your business.
? Protect the security of your company's communications and privacy, while simultaneously experiencing exponential savings on phone bills, by locating and subscribing to a VoIP solutions provider who offers a secure platform that incorporates its own patented technology.
Posted by VoIP Phone Service at 2:27 AM
Posted by VoIP Phone Service at 1:57 AM
Currently, ISPs have a 'net neutrality' policy, which means all web traffic is equal and no data is prioritised. However, according to Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, Ed Vaizey, content providers that require large amounts of bandwidth to pass their data to consumer, such as the BBC and Google, should be charged by ISPs to ensure web users accessing the site get the fastest speeds possible. Meanwhile, consumers that use lots of bandwidth should also be charged a premium.
The market to innovate
"We have got to continue to encourage the market to innovate and experiment with different business models and ways of providing consumers with what they want," he said.
"In order for the internet to continue as the open, innovative force for good that it has been over the past 20 years it is essential that all elements continue to prosper. This means ensuring that content providers and applications have open access to consumers and vice versa," he said.
"The founding principle of the internet is that everyone - from individuals to global companies - has equal access ... But the emergence of fast and slow lanes allows broadband providers to effectively pick and choose what you see first and fastest."
"This approach will reassure those who are investing in networks and coming up with new, innovative online business models," the ISPA said."ISPs use traffic management techniques so that they are able to effectively and efficiently run and manage their networks for the benefits of all users. This enables ISPs to prioritise time-sensitive applications, such as VoIP and online gaming, at peak times."
Posted by VoIP Phone Service at 3:09 AM
It seems like technology is headed for a massive telephone change over. The traditional Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is looking to be replaced by VoIP. VoIP is short for Voice over IP. VoIP is the routing of conversations over an IP network or the Internet. VoIP uses a packet-switched network instead of the circuit-switched voice transmission lines used by traditional telephone networks. VoIP does not need an Internet connection to work. A company that has a LAN connection with all of its computers can utilize VoIP technology.
VoIP is a great technology, but has a variety of issues with implementation. VoIP may face problems with latency because IPs do not provide Quality of Service guarantees, nor do they provide their packets of information in sequential order. High-speed Internet connections are required for VoIP and firewalls often prove tricky for VoIP technology. To combat this, many people use Session Border Controllers (SBC).
VoIP technology has many advantages. There are more new features with VoIP because of the lack of an International Telecommunications Union. VoIP is still very much an open market for developers, so the technology is constantly being improved. VoIP also has a lower cost than traditional sources because of the monopolies that exist or traditional phone companies being controlled by the government. Some users even see VoIP phone calls as free because they do not have to pay extra for the service. The user only pays the Internet service provider, and therefore the usage of VoIP seems to be free. You can also take your VoIP phone wherever you go because all you need is a network connection to make it work. VoIP technology will also benefit network agents who work for call centers. Agents can help callers from anywhere in the country with an Internet connection. Finally, because VoIP is on the computer, there is increased functionality. Conference calls can be held, information can be sent, and things like address books can be updated and shared over VoIP.
While VoIP has many advantages, there are a few drawbacks to the service. One of the biggest drawbacks is reliability. Telephone lines have back up generators in case of power outages, so phones can keep working. Because VoIP is connected to the Internet, a power outage will end a VoIP call when the computer shuts down. To combat this, users must buy an expensive uninterruptible power supply or a generator that must then be installed on the premises. Internet connections are also subject to disconnection, depending on crowded networks, and the quality of the ISP. If the Internet connection drops, then the VoIP call will be dropped. VoIP is also a problem for emergency calls. Because of the nature of the Internet and VoIP systems, emergency workers cannot trace calls. In the event that someone with an emergency has a problem but is unable to give an address, the emergency worker will not be able to trace the call and find the person. VoIP carriers are already attempting to fix this problem by implementing a technical work-around. Finally, it will be very difficult to integrate VoIP on a massive scale, because while the standard Plain Old Telephone System (POTS) has a common standard, VoIP does not.
VoIP has many advantages as well as some large drawbacks. The main roadblock in the way of global VoIP adoption is reliability. When VoIP proves that it can be just as reliable as traditional telephone services have been over many years, then it will start to be adopted. VoIP technology is always improving, so the problems with VoIP today are likely to be solved sooner than many people expect. VoIP can truly revolutionize both the business world and home life.
Posted by VoIP Phone Service at 1:14 AM
Will the Bell System Survive? A Massive Transfer of Wealth from Bell to VoIP Is Underway.
The "Internet Revolution" has brought us e-mail, the World Wide Web and quick, convenient ways to communicate that we've come to take for granted. And now it's reached consumers who are looking for a more economical, more flexible way to talk on the phone. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), also known as Broadband Phone or Internet Phone, now allows consumers to use their ordinary telephone to talk over the Internet at rates 50 to 60 percent below those charged by the Bell System, and with robust features that Bell cannot offer.
The Bell System has been our primary "channel" for connecting with friends, relatives and business associates for the last 100 years. Yet, in July, 2004, Michael Powell, the past Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates the telephone industry, made this dramatic statement: "VoIP will irreversibly alter the world of communications. VoIP is the most significant paradigm shift in the entire history of modern communications since the invention of the telephone."
Powell was quoted in Forbes Magazine, but why did he speak about VoIP in such striking terms?
For starters, the courts have ruled that VoIP -- voice services over the Internet -- are information services, not telecommunications services. As such, VoIP is not subject to the many taxes, regulatory fees and tariffs that Federal, State and local governments have piled onto the phone company over the years. Take a look at your latest phone bill and you'll see that 30 percent or more of the monthly charge comes from these "junk fees." Moving to VOIP phone service eliminates them, except for a trifling 3 percent Federal Excise Tax.
Second, unlike the phone company, VoIP service providers don't have to install and maintain central offices, millions of miles of copper wire and fiber optic cable to carry your voice from point to point. The Internet is "already there," just waiting to send your voice as a digital packet stream alongside other digital traffic. This huge savings on infrastructure costs, plus the elimination of "junk fees" translates into a savings of 50 to 60 percent per month, every month. A typical $65 per month phone bill usually costs about $25 per month with VoIP; saving a residential customer with a single phone line nearly $500 per year. For homes with two lines, savings can approach $700 per year.
Third, VoIP delivers sophisticated new features the phone company cannot. For example, Find Me service allows you to designate up to five phones that will ring in sequence, or simultaneously, to find you when you're out of the office. Enhanced Voicemail lets you listen to voicemail from any web-connected PC or Mac, and to forward them as email attachments to anyone who might need to hear the voicemail. A web-based Call Manager lets you build a list of contacts you can dial simply by clicking on the person's name. These conveniences not only increase productivity for busy people; they're fun and easy to use. And of course all the features you already use - call waiting, caller ID, call return, etc. -- are included in the standard VoIP service.
These factors working together have led market research firms, including Frost & Sullivan and the Yankee Group, to predict that consumers using VoIP phone service will increase from around one million now to over 18 million by 2007. Other estimates range as high as 30 million by 2007. Losing 18 to 30 million customers in the next few years is very likely keeping conventional phone providers awake at night.
The impact of the Internet on communication is pervasive. In July, 2005, the US Congress voted overwhelmingly (410 to 20) to reform the Postal Service to save it from a "death spiral" brought on by rising costs and declining business due to the impact of the Internet. The next few years should bring more challenges to the Bell System as millions of people drop their phone service in favor of the lower cost, richer features and convenience of VoIP communication
Posted by VoIP Phone Service at 1:00 AM
There's a revolution brewing in the telephone industry. But it's not the recent demise of AT&T or the failure of Worldcom. It's a new, yet proven, technology that lets you talk with friends, family and loved ones over the Internet.
It's called VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) or broadband phone, and it lets you use your ordinary home or office telephone to dial and talk to anyone using the Internet as your "channel" of communication. Instead of dialing through the Bell System copper wires, you make calls through your DSL or cable Internet access provider. No microphones or headsets. Just use your existing telephone to talk throughout North America and the world.
This new technology not only saves you 50 to 60 percent on your monthly phone bill. It also provides a host of services the phone company cannot. One of these - a "virtual phone number" -- can eliminate long distance charges to friends and family who want to call you. Here's how it works.
When you order your VoIP phone service you can also order a second phone number in a distant city. For example, if you live in Philadelphia you're in the 215 area code. And, if you have relatives in Los Angeles, you can order a virtual number in area code 818 (Los Angeles). Then, when a family member in LA wants to call you, they simply dial the 818 phone number, which is a local call for them. Amazingly enough, your phone rings in area 215. Your family gets to talk to you for the cost of a local call: for free.
Virtual numbers are great for kids going away to college. Rick and Patti live in Cleveland and have a son going to college at Kennesaw State University, near Atlanta. They can order a VoIP phone number with the Cleveland area code for the home phone, and get an Atlanta area virtual number. Then, when their son wants to call home, he makes a local Atlanta call and the phone rings at Mom and Dad's house, 700 miles away.
Of course VoIP phone service also provides toll free numbers - usually at less than two cents per minute - giving you yet another way to make it easy for friends and family to stay in touch.
Get virtual! Join the millions of people jumping on the VoIP bandwagon and start enjoying the rich features and accessibility you can get through broadband phone service.
Posted by VoIP Phone Service at 12:21 AM
Be leery of your VoIP phone system in case of emergencies. 911 services may not be available to you or will be limited. You should put local emergency numbers by or on your phone in case you have a problem until the providers get this sorted out this fall. The FCC has been after VoIP providers to fix this problem and just recently extended the deadline. But for you and me, that means we have to be careful in emergencies or be left stranded trying to dial 911.
Providers of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone service have been told by the FCC to warn customers of potential problems of using 911 as an emergency number. The FCC told providers they should obtain acknowledgements from their subscribers and if they didn't, then they should turn off their service.
The VON coalition, a group of VoIP providers which include AT&T and MCI, were concerned of what would happen to their customers if they were cut off. Some portion of the subscribers typically won't respond to a request. Is it in the public's best interest to disconnect these people?
There are about 1.7 million VoIP subscribers nationwide and this cut off from the FCC could have potentially disrupted service for 100,000 people. The FCC issued this decree in May after a woman was unable to get 911 help to save her dying daughter.
The FCC ordered all the providers to have full 911 service by November 28th.
Here's the quote from the FCC:
Specifically, the Bureau announces that it will continue to refrain, for an additional 30 days -- until September 28, 2005 -- from enforcing the requirement that VoIP providers obtain affirmative acknowledgements from 100% of their subscribers that they have read and understood an advisory concerning the limitations of their E911 service against those providers that meet the reporting requirements established below.
In addition to satisfying these reporting requirements, to be eligible for this extension, providers also must have filed a report on or before August 10, 2005 in accordance with the Bureau's July 26, 2005 Public Notice. The Bureau will evaluate the sufficiency of the updated reports filed by interconnected VoIP providers and take subsequent action as necessary.
Posted by VoIP Phone Service at 10:29 PM
What is VoIP?
First things first, VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. At a base level that means phone calls over your broadband connection. You really do need a high-speed connection to take advantage of VoIP to get phone calls comparable to a normal landline phone. Traditional "dial-up" connections are not really sufficient.
VoIP works in a different way to your home phone. Your home phone is based on an analogue network, whereas VoIP is based on a digital one. Essentially when you speak into a VoIP enabled phone or headset your voice is converted into digital packets; it is then compressed to help your Internet connection run more efficiently and then it is transferred down the connection much like an email. Once it reaches its destination the process is reversed.
Why might I want to switch to VoIP?
It's a good question. We all have a working phone in our homes or business, why should we change? Lets look at the advantages and disadvantages of VoIP
Well to put it simply - cost. VoIP makes calls significantly cheaper. And (Depending on your package) for a low cost monthly subscription local and national calls can be made for free, and international calls made at a significantly lower rate.
When you subscribe to a VoIP service it is possible to get a phone number for life. You will be able to take your number with you whenever you move (or even travel) with obvious benefits.
The contract packages that companies who are offering the service contain for the most part all the features and more that your current phone service supplier offers. You are likely to find most VoIP companies offering free voicemail, call forwarding, caller ID, call waiting, call waiting ID, 3 way calling, speed dialling and much more.
VoIP is very much in it's infancy; the technology is progressing all the time. Future benefits that we may not be able to envisage yet are certain to appear, you current analogue phone system will not be able to compete.
Your VoIP phones system will be exclusively based on your broadband connection, if you ISP has a period of service downtime then you will not be able to make calls. Additionally if your electricity supply has a power out then you will not be able to make any calls, this includes calls to the emergency services. Some providers have already got a work around with the emergency calls, so make sure when you decide on a supplier they provide this.
A further disadvantage currently is the set up of the VoIP is not the simplest procedure to undertake, though many suppliers will assist with installation.
The quality of the call via VoIP can be slightly less than your current analogue phone, but the technology is steadily improving, and before long you will not be able to tell the difference in call quality between the two mediums.
Posted by VoIP Phone Service at 9:50 PM
The following are 6 very important factors to consider when you are selecting a VoIP provider. Educate yourself and be informed before you choose.
Monthly costs: A VoIP provider can save you up to 80% on your telephone/long distance expenses. There are many VoIP providers out there so it will benefit you from shopping around. Unlimited calling packages can range from $16.58/month to as high as $54.95/month. Usually the lower priced providers have more customers and are able to offer the service at a lower price due to a lower overhead per subscriber.
VoIP Product Features: Not all VoIP providers are created equal. VoIP offers a great value to the consumers because of the drastically reduced long distance costs as well as inexpensive local phone service with lots of enhanced features. Some providers offer more features than others. Features like Call Waiting, 3 Way Calling, etc. are usually included in the VoIP monthly cost where as the traditional phone companies will charge up to and above $5/month per feature. When shopping for a VoIP provider, be sure to compare VoIP providers by features as well as by monthly price.
Keeping Your Number: Some providers allow you to transfer (port) your current phone number to the VoIP service and some providers do not. It is not recommended to switch your home number to the VoIP service immediately. It is recommended that you try out the service and see if you are satisfied before you request that your current number be switched. Keep in mind that if you have DSL service, you must retain a phone number with the service provider of the DSL because the DSL service is provided over that telephone line. If you want to get rid of your current phone company all together, then we suggest you use a Cable Internet Service Provider.
911 Service: Most of the VoIP carriers offer E911 service, but not all. Be sure to check if the VoIP provider offers E911 because it is not a given. If the VoIP provider does not offer E911, then we suggest that you either have a cell phone or traditional landline to use in case of an emergency. (Note: It is also important to point out that if you take your VoIP phone when traveling, E911 has no way of knowing where you are when you call 911 if you are away from the registered address.)
International Calling: If you make a lot of international calls, you will want to do a lot of research on International Rates as they vary by provider. There are a few carriers that offer unlimited calling to certain countries.
Money Back Guarantee: Since VoIP is a relatively new product; most all VoIP providers will offer a free money back guarantee. Be sure to check with each provider as we have seen the money back guarantees range from a 14-day to a 30-day money back guarantee. (Note: Be sure to keep the original packaging that your equipment came in just in case you need to send it back)
This is only a short list. In fact, there are many things to consider when choosing a VoIP provider. An educated consumer generally results in a satisfied consumer.
Posted by VoIP Phone Service at 11:17 PM
For the uninitiated, the term broadband phone is loosely used to describe the technology currently available where one can make telephone calls from a telephone system that sends the voice signal over your internet connection. The call may terminate at a regular phone line or another broadband phone.
Until recently, the technology was not being used widely because of its perceived limitations, including lack of features available. The primary issue however has been that of poor call quality.
Now, continuing improvements in the industry and increased competition pushing the development of the technology have resulted in significant progress, to the extent that some analysts now predict that broadband phones (really Voice over Internet Protocol technologies) will dominate the long distance calling market by 2010 - maybe sooner.
Here are some specific reasons why you may find broadband phones a good fit at this stage.
Reason #5: Portability and Ease of Use
The equipment provided by the broadband phone companies can be used wherever you have access to a high speed connection. Most broadband service companies do not restrict you from traveling with your phone. As long as the network that you are plugging into will "automagically" assign your broadband device an internet address (IP address) - and most will - you are up and running.
This means that you can be in a hotel in Japan and still be accessible at the same phone number - your kids or staff don't need to know the hotel's number.
Reason #4: Long Distance Savings
Broadband services typically come with lower long distance rates than you can get from most traditional carriers. This calculates into immediate cost savings. Some services allow you to add one or more virtual numbers to your main phone number. This means that your phone may be able to receive calls from 2 or more different area codes. This virtually eliminates long-distance phoning charges for anyone calling within those numbers' area codes.
Reason #3: Freedom from Tariffs
For the time being, calls made over the internet are not subject to a lot of the tariffs that afflict your regular phone bill. How long will this persist? There are different opinions on this in the industry, but right now it's a nice advantage that makes for an even lower phone bill.
Reason #2: Availability of High Speed Internet
All the cost saving and convenience reasons already mentioned would not do much to propel the growth of the broadband phone market if consumers did not have access to high speed connections at their homes. Broadband phones perform the best when using cable or DSL highspeed internet connections.
Reason #1: Clarity of Sound
The top reason why broadband phone services are currently making swift inroads is that the call quality has significantly improved. All of the major players now offer services that work satisfactorily for residential use and some can consistently meet the most stringent business requirements for clarity.
Finally, considering the initial small investment that may be required to get a broadband phone account up and running, the volume of savings you are likely to experience within a short period is very significant. The flexibility, ease of use (technical know-how not needed) combined with improvement in quality definitely makes this bandwagon a good ride.
Posted by VoIP Phone Service at 1:35 AM
When it comes to VoIP Broadband Telephone service, there are many benefits. Unlimited local and long distance calling, included features such as CallerID, Call Waiting, Find Me/Follow Me, etc., and reduced costs. Many people overlook one thing when they are comparing the price of a VoIP provider and their Traditional Telephone service, and that is "What taxes are associated with VoIP telephone service vs. what taxes are associated with traditional telephone services?"
In my opinion, this is a huge factor in making the decision to go with a VoIP Broadband Telephone solution. The only VoIP Tax (as of the writing Feb. 2005) associated with a VoIP service is a Federal Excise Tax of only 3% of the bill. For example, if you signed up for a VoIP unlimited calling plan for only $19.95 per month your monthly total would equal $20.55. This $20.55 per month would cover all of your calls to the U.S. and Canada, all of the included features, and quality customer service. (Noted exception: Vonage customers located in N.J. are required to pay sales tax on their Vonage VoIP service.)
Conversely, a Traditional telephone bill includes numerous taxes and surcharges. For example, I had a discount telephone company that only charged me $9.99 per month for a basic Traditional Telephone service in California. Please look at the breakdown of all of the taxes and charges.
Posted by VoIP Phone Service at 2:16 AM
Its not so long ago that the idea of free phone calls over the Internet would have been thought an impossibility, but as any knowledgeable user will tell you they are now commonplace. Skype the pioneer and market leader has 51 million users and a great, easy to use software package that allows your computer to make Internet phone calls between subscribers.
All you need is a reasonable computer, preferably a broadband connection but it will work over a dial up connection, and a microphone, then as long as the person you want to contact is online and also signed up to the same service, you can talk for ever for no cost.
This is possible because your speech is sent over the Internet in the data packets, just like email or any other Internet service. Microsoft, AOL, BT and Yahoo all have their own instant voice messaging services and now Google has joined in, with the launch of its instant messaging and Internet Phone service Google Talk. The service will be free to all users of its email program Gmail. This must be causing Googles competitors some concern, because as we all know from past, experience when Google does something they always want to be the market leader.
Google Talk will have the traditional uncluttered Google look which users have come to expect, to use Google Talk you must sign up for a Gmail Account. Google is making Google talk an open service, by working with EarthLink to connect with their Vling communications service and with Sipphone on using their Gizmo project, which will mean that users of Google Talk can send messages to users of other networks, unlike all their major rivals.
This means that Google Talk will be free for calls to other networks, unlike the services from AOL, Microsoft, etc where calls are only free between subscribers of their individual services. When it was announced this was seen as such a significant development that Skype immediately responded by announcing that they would also be making their network available to calls from other networks. At the moment Skype also has the advantage that its users can make calls from their computer to a landline or mobile phone, initially Google Talk will only offer Pc to PC communication, I wonder how long that will remain the case?
To start, with Google Talk will be free from adverts but that will probably change in the future, it is hoped that the launch of the service will increase the use of Gmail, where Google earns income by placing adverts targeted at the subject matter of the email.
This is a very significant step in the development of Internet phone calling services using VoIp and I expect that Google will make every effort to become the market leader.
Posted by VoIP Phone Service at 1:32 AM
What is VoIP? VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol which is a method for you to talk with someone via your broadband internet connection, cable or DSL. Your voice is translated into data and sent over the same connection used for your computer. VoIP has become popular because you can talk to people for just a few cents per minute...worldwide! In fact, in a recent ad I saw that one of the leading providers of this service is offering free calls to Canada and charging just 3 cents per minute for calls to Hong Kong and 6 cents per minute for calls to Copenhagen. People who frequently call international destinations love VoIP. Heck, at prices one-tenth the amount or less of conventional long distance rates VoIP does have a strong appeal for consumers.
Overall, plans seem to start at around ten dollars per month and increase to around forty dollars monthly depending on offerings selected. Many VoIP plans give plenty of "extras" as part of the package including:
Caller ID with the name
I have seen plans that also offer widespread 411 accessibility, fax service, and virtual phone numbers which allow users to select phone numbers outside of their area code.
Posted by VoIP Phone Service at 11:10 PM
VoIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol has been simmering for the past few years. This year the market has heated up. Many large businesses have jumped on the VoIP bandwagon and have realized savings of 50-percent or more off their phone bills. VoIP providers are competing to add to or replace large PBX systems for the corporations and add web conferencing capabilities plus wireless VoIP (wVoIP) over LAN's as well.
Hospitals and other large, fragmented workforces are discovering the value of using wireless VoIP phones to converse with one another quickly and efficiently while in different wings, floors or buildings of a large facility. This kind of wireless VoIP setup can have huge cost savings over cell phones and is more efficient that using pagers.
While business VoIP has caught on in the corporate landscape, residential VoIP is still trying to take hold. This is largely because of a couple of current disadvantages of VoIP. First, not all current VoIP systems have power backups. When the power goes out in a residence, the landline is still operational. Since VoIP works over a high-speed Internet connection, which requires power, if the power goes down, so does the VoIP connection. This will be of concern to many concerned about emergency situations. The good news is that many VoIP hardware providers are starting to deliver systems with power backup to address just this issue.
The second drawback of residential VoIP is that not all current VoIP service providers offer full, 24-7 emergency 911 service. After hour calls in Florida, may be mistakenly rerouted to Idaho for instance. This is also about to change. The Federal Communications Commission has mandated that all phone service providers offer e911 service as standard. According to the FCC, "All interconnected VoIP providers must automatically provide E9-1-1 services to all customers as a standard, mandatory feature without customers having to specifically request this service. VoIP providers may not allow their customers the option to "opt-out" of E9-1-1 service."
Clearly, though, residential VoIP is heading towards direct competition with the local phone companies' coveted landlines. A couple of years ago at a meeting in SBC's Publishing division, one of the executive managers cried, "Landlines, we need to stop losing landlines!" This was in response to cell phone companies taking away market share from the local Baby Bells. Now that VoIP is on the radar, the executive management teams for the local and long-distance phone companies must be huddling in their back offices, trying to figure out how they will stop the bleeding in the years to come.
With VoIP costing far less that traditional local and long-distance phone service and overcoming the last of the residential hurdles, one can be sure that consumers will soon be taking notice. Many will also start wearing t-shirt like "VoIP VIP" and "Got VoIP?" to herald in the new era in telecommunications
Posted by VoIP Phone Service at 2:20 AM
John Ashcroft, Attorney General, in remarks at the High Technology Crime Investigation Association 2004 International Training Conference held on September 13, 2004 stated, "We have seen worms and viruses attack?disrupting basic services?And with the increased use of the Internet and especially peer-to-peer networking, we have seen malicious code spread more quickly and infect more personal computers than ever before. The cost of these worms, viruses, and denial-of-service attacks?reaches into the billions of dollars."
In an article written by Daniel A. Morris, Assistant US Attorney, Computer and Telecommunications Coordinator with the District of Nebraska stated in "Tracking a Computer Hacker", that the "The modern thief can steal more with a computer than with a gun. Tomorrow's terrorist may be able to do more damage with a keyboard than with a bomb."
Ralph Echemendia, head of Intense School which trains executives regarding network security risks, stated that "Telecom providers are one of the main targets for malicious attackers because they control communications for everybody."
Sophisticated hackers have learned how to tap into sensitive information traveling on the Internet, and their focal point is communication.
How is this possible?
It is fairly simple. First, you should be aware that email services operate off of email servers, and web services operate off of web servers. Both email servers and web servers are built for data and not for voice.
Because VoIP has voice, it requires a system that will convert the voice into data packets to travel across the Internet, and then convert back to voice at destination. However, VoIP should not be considered just another application residing on a data network, as it necessitates a real time service due to performance expectations (e.g., quality of sound).
The majority of VoIP computer phones require a minimum of 20 kps (kilobytes per second) of bandwidth (information carrying capacity) for data packets to travel across the Internet, which is why most require a minimum high speed Internet connection in order to function without corrupting the quality of the voice.
Although in the minority, a few VoIP computer phone providers, some of which are reputable, require a minimum of less than 10 kps (kilobytes per second) of bandwidth (information carrying capacity), which is why their services can be used with dial-up connections or high speed (e.g., cable), satellite, and wireless connections.
Over 90% of VoIP services operate using industry standard codec (encryption codes) and industry standard protocols.
Computers are assigned a different numeric Internet Protocol (IP) address while on line, which is analogous to mail where you would have an identity location with your street number, city, state and zip code.
Relative to a protocol, the IP (Internet Protocol) address is a number that identifies the user and their computer. Industry standard codec and industry standard protocols are open and interpretable to the public. Unscrupulous hackers frequently launch their attacks against VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services that operate on these publicly open and interpretable standards.
Peer-to-peer services, as well as over 90% of all VoIP computer phone services, operate on industry standard codec and industry standard protocols. In other words, their lines are not secure.
IM services also create targeted vulnerability to vicious hacker attacks by a simple monitoring program made available that enables electronic eavesdropping.
Posted by VoIP Phone Service at 11:32 PM
For a few years now, the calling cards business is booming. Everywhere you go, everywhere you search you might find one: in WallMarts, grocery stores, newspaper stands, vending machines in coffee shops. But the place you can find the most of these long distance alternatives is the internet. A quick search on Google, Yahoo or other search engines will reveal thousands of websites that sell calling cards. So,it's an easy pick, one might say. Well... not quite.
According to the FCC, almost 70% of the calling card businesses are fraudulent. Meaning mostly that they get your money but you don't get the calling card. That means that you have to be very careful when choosing a website to buy from. On top of that, calling cards vary in number and features, so you have to choose the one appropriate to your needs. Their low rates however, come with a price at times. Companies selling calling cards use VoIP technology and other third party carriers to complete their calls. While not as expensive as a satellite connection (hence the low rates), this technology is at the beginning, so problems may occur from time to time. This is why calling cards are not usually recommended for emergency calls. For calls within the United States however, calls made with calling cards (also known as phone cards) have a good quality and connection rate, given that you have found a good supplier.
So here are the steps you need to take to get the best out of your calling card purchase:
- Find a reliable website (this means no weird pop-ups, no advertisement of Viagra on the website - you get my point).
- Take a look at the available calling cards and rates.
- Check out any details of calling cards: usually, next to or underneath the picture of the calling card there is a link that will take you to a "Details" page. Look for maintenance fees, rounding, any other surcharges, expiration dates.
- If you intend to make a lot of long calls over a short period of time, choose a card with a maintenance fee. This means that a certain amount will be deducted from your balance each week/month until you use up the card. But if you plan to make so many calls, you'll probably use the card up by the time the maintenance fee is deducted. Calling cards with maintenance fees also tend to have lower rates.
- If you use the card just once in a while, choose a card with no maintenance fee. These cards usually have higher rates, but you don't have to worry about your balance going down if you do not use the card.
- Look for a Customer Service number. Reliable companies have Customer Service, in case their customers have questions or problems.
Posted by VoIP Phone Service at 2:27 AM
VoIP is set to revolutionise home communications. With VoIP you can make telephone calls over your broadband connection for free! Well in some cases you can, in other cases you might need to pay a monthly subscription to a VoIP service provider. There are a few different ways you can take advantage of VoIP at home.
PC to PC
The simplest and most cost effective way to get into VoIP is by installing some free software on your PC and invest in a telephone headset( you can also use a microphone and your PC speakers). Once you have this set up you can talk to other people using the same software from your PC to their PC.
Sounds good? Well yes and no, you both have to be sat in front of your PC's to communicate, which is not particularly convenient. Though if you are making a lot of international calls this can be a great way to speak to relatives overseas completely free of charge.
PC to Phone
You can take phone calls over broadband a step further by setting up a 'PC to Phone' VoIP system. This is similar to the 'PC to PC' method outlined above. You need to have a headset and download specialist software too, though with this method you can contact any phone you like.
However, via this method the calls are not free and you will need to prepay for your calls. The supplier of your software will require you to add money to your phone account much like the pre-pay system for mobile phones. When you choose your service provider you will need to carefully check the rates they offer. Some have great deals for landline calls, but are expensive if you wish to call a mobile phone - so do your research.
Phone to Phone
This is the most exciting incarnation of VoIP for the home, you can either buy a VoIP ready phone or an adaptor that connects your phone to your broadband line, and from there contact any phone over your broadband connection.
You will need to sign up with a VoIP service provider to accomplish this. Usually you will be charged a monthly fee, and typically get all your UK landline phone calls free. There are additional deals for international calls and contacting mobile phones.
Whatever option you chose to connect to at home, you are sure to take advantage of the future of home telecommunications - VoIP!
Posted by VoIP Phone Service at 11:06 PM
There is no doubt that you have heard about VoIP by now. It's made headlines and is plastered everywhere both in online and TV advertisements. Just in case you haven't caught on to the hype yet, VoIP is the abbreviated term for Voice over Internet Protocol. Voice over Internet Protocol is basically the ability to communicate on a phone over your Internet connection.
With VoIP, the promise is the ability to make local and global long distance calls at a significantly lower rate than over a plain old telephone line through your local carrier. The VoIP trend has caught on and large enterprises all over the globe are adopting this new technology to reduce their cost of business communications which may include fax, conference calling, along with streaming video applications. VoIP has been around for some time, but it has only been until recently that it has finally matured to the stage worthy of replacing everyday phone use.
At the household level, it is certain by now that you are compelled to embrace this technology somewhat, but are not sure how to go about it or even if this technology has any real benefit for your family. You are probably wondering, "How much? How difficult? Is it necessary?" This article hopefully will clear up a few unanswered questions you may have regarding this technology and maybe even excite you enough to go on out and get VoIP hooked up in your own home.
First off, you must have an Internet connection. No, not your 56k dial up connection, but an actual high speed Internet connection. This can be cable, satellite, or DSL Internet, but you will need high speed Internet for VoIP to function properly and become your new calling station. Dialup just doesn't have the capacity or speed to transfer voice digitally without significant quality loss. A company named SpeakEasy has recently come out with a new DSL product that requires no current phone line for high speed Internet if DSL is your current favorite of broadband services and if you are planning on replacing your current phone service with VoIP.
Secondly you will need what is called a gateway. The gateway is connected between your computer and Ethernet modem. The VoIP gateway is where your phone line will be plugged into. Gateways enable freedom from possible computer problems that can shut down calling capabilities or deteriorate voice quality. Computer crashes, slow memory, and many other computer problems that plague us in everyday life, you do not want to plague your ability to make phone calls.
Gateways are specifically designed for VoIP phones but adapters are available for current phones should you not want to buy a brand new phone. VoIP providers usually have the adapters available for sale so you don't have to shop around for one yourself. Before you write off buying a new phone however, video phones are the newest product line and it won't be long before this trend explodes. You may want to get your video phone so you aren't left out of exciting face to face conversations with friends and relatives when they get theirs. Packet8 VoIP has a good video phone sold separately with their services.
The services included with VoIP usually include all the convenient bells and whistles your current phone service provides including your own local VoIP telephone number, call waiting, voice messaging, 3 way calling, and more.
There are some important things to remember with VoIP before you go diving in to this feature rich voice technology. You should check with your VoIP provider for local 911 emergency coverage. Some VoIP providers charge extra on a monthly basis for both 911 and 411 access so make sure you know how much it is going to cost you before committing to a calling contract.
One last important thing to remember is that your gateway is reliant on electricity to function. This means power outages will put your phone line out of service, but then isn't your phone already only functional with electricity these days?
This article was written by Aaron Siegel of TopSavings.Net which provides consultive services for communications at the residential level all the way up to government.
Posted by VoIP Phone Service at 11:51 PM
Peer-to-Peer (P2P) systems do not operate on secure lines, thus providing a conduit for hackers to enter a network or computer, access personal and confidential information, as well as deploy viruses or worms. Users of P2P systems are prime targets and/or launching points for malicious hacker attacks simply because it requires downloading and sharing electronic files or programs, not to mention usage on publicly open and interpretable industry standard protocols and industry standard codec.
A Staff Report submitted by the Government Reform Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives (May 2003), entitled "File-Sharing Programs and Peer-to-Peer Networks - Privacy and Security Risks", stated that users of these programs have inadvertently made their personal information available to other users. "A search of one P2P network found at least 2,500 Microsoft Money backup files, which stores the users' personal financial records, available for download."
Personal information includes tax returns containing you name, address, and social security numbers of not only you, but your spouse and dependents, financial information such as income and investments, medical records, business files such as contracts and personnel evaluations, and attorney-client communications, to name a few.
Spyware and adware programs are frequently bundled into P2P file-sharing software. These programs collect personal information for marketers and provide access to your computer by malicious hackers. In an article located on Vnunet.com entitled "Users Fume at Grokster 'Drive-by Download'", these two programs "?can redirect a user's homepage to a different website, install a new browser toolbar, insert entries into the users' browser bookmark list, reinstall itself after uninstallation, and ultimately crash a user's system."
Another grave concern for both individuals and businesses when using P2P software is unknowingly having your computer used as a supernode. A supernode occurs when your computer is arbitrarily assigned as a hub.
When you are running the software for P2P services, your computer's disk space, bandwidth, and processing power are used to help other users on the same system operate their software more efficiently because of their own network or firewall constraints.
Not only can this overload systems or networks with excessive data, disk space, and network bandwidth, unscrupulous hackers can also insert arbitrary code in each supernode's address space or crash all supernodes.
Peer-to-Peer (P2P) systems such as Skype operate by taking bandwidth (information carrying capacity) from customers on their service to assist other customers using their service - analogous to a symbiotic relationship. The tools that enable them to accomplish this are bundled in the software their customers download to access their VoIP service.
Posted by VoIP Phone Service at 11:58 PM