How to Call Using VolP

By Melissa Worcester

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is an economical option for making telephone calls, especially long distance calls. You can make just a few calls with VoIP and still keep your land line, or you can save money by cutting the land line cord and using VoIP with your regular phone. You can also take advantage of the many convenient options with a VoIP small business phone system.

Things You'll Need

  • Broadband Internet connection (DSL or cable modem) VoIP phone device

Step 1

Use VoIP to make low-cost calls from a regular phone. JoiPhone Anywhere and VoIP Direct from are examples of this type of plan. Register your phone number(s) and then call a local access number to make free calls to others who have phone numbers from the same service.

Step 2

Make VoIP "soft phone" calls using your computer. Skype, 8x8 Softalk Basic from Cognigen,'s SoftPhone and the IP Freedom plan from are examples of this service. Download the necessary software. Use your computer to dial a number, speak into the microphone and hear your caller through the computer's speakers or headphones. Plans vary as to whether you can call all phone numbers or just those using the same service; generally, services that let you call all numbers are more expensive, but they still cost less than land line services.

Step 3

Use your regular telephone, and in most cases, your current phone number, to make and receive VoIP calls. Vonage, Packet 8 from Cognigen and are examples of this type of plan. Purchase or lease a piece of hardware that connects to your broadband modem and your computer via Ethernet cable. This device has a phone jack that accepts the connector of a regular telephone cord. Once the setup is complete, you can pick up your phone and get a regular dial tone. The benefit beyond a regular land line is lower cost (usually unlimited and less-expensive long distance). Features such as caller ID, voice mail via email and the ability to take your phone number with you on vacation or even if you move to another state are only available with VoIP.

Step 4

Sign up for VoIP services from your phone company or cable TV provider. Deals can be found if you subscribe to Internet and TV services from the same company. Benefits include professional installation, one bill for all three services and access to a customer service department for technical support.

Step 5

Use a VoIP office phone system to manage a multiple phone setup for a small business. Your system can use VoIP only for inter-office calls or for all calls. The phone provider will install the equipment and provide training and support. This makes it easier for you to call between different locations of your business, even if they are in different states. It also allows your employees telecommute while still being able to receive phone calls dialed to the business phone number.

Tips & Warnings

  • Unless you switch your current number from a land line to VoIP, you can have both services simultaneously. This way you can save money on long distance calls while still experiencing the reliable service you have with your current phone provider.
  • VoIP requires Internet and electricity. If you experience an outage of either of these, you will have a phone outage as well. Many VoIP users, if they don't also have a land lines, have cell phones to ensure they have phone service at all times. Many VoIP services allow you to forward calls to your cell phone if there is a service outage.