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Internet telephony is a method of making phone calls by using the Internet. So, instead of phoning someone up by long-distance/international phone calls, you just dial a local phone-rate server, or even an unmetered access (ie free use) connection. The other end does the same, and you're ON-LINE, phoning round the world for the price of two local calls! (or free)
One of the places that we had an affiliate link for on this was DIALSPREE, although we're still trying to find a new affiliate link. Maybe they'll have a new affiliate program at some time. Dialspree sell these handsets to plug into your PC, so obviously the more of us who are using Internet Telephony, the more of those handsets they're likely so sell. Another good contact for Internet Telephony is SKYPE, a system which allows international phone calls over the Internet AND calls in and out of the network to normal phones. (VOIP). SKYPE now have some competition from Verizon Voicewing, so we will see how this develops. Definitely good news for folk out there who'd like to have free international phone calls through the Internet.
The main advantage to Internet Telephony versus using an ordinary phone is that the calls are much cheaper, or even FREE! But... There is a slight snag to Internet Telephony which most companies conveniently fail to mention. They piggyback on top of tcp/ip, which does not contain any way of specifying a bandwidth requirement, so you end up getting data drop out. If this gets too bad, then it becomes impossible to hold a conversation, and you have to disconnect and try again later when the Net isn't so full. I have also heard there is a satellite-style delay. I think the dropout problem is a function of Internet Bandwidth (also see broadband), and so in time it will not be a problem, in the same sort of way that wireless sets no longer have problems with the sensitive nature of the crystal-and-catswhisker. Update on this, 2005: The problems appear to be ironing out ok, and SKYPE is catching on quite well.
According to reliable sources, telephone exchanges are being upgraded so instead of being based on Virtual Circuit (effectively a transistorised version of the banks of relays), telephone exchanges will be based on a data packet system like the Internet using IPV6.
More news will be announced when some more things happen. Also, you can see some information about PHONES, and almost see the info going out of date as you watch. More stuff about this can be seen at Skype where they're developing the technology. Don't forget Verizon Voice. It's a free market economy out there!