Today, a computer can be used for just about anything. From entertainment to research, a PC is a must have in every home. One of the special things you can do with your PC is to use it as a landline phone to call just about anywhere. The call cost will come out significantly cheaper, and the clarity of the line is sometimes much better than using a standard phone line or a phone card.
Here's how to call anywhere using a PC.
- You must have a computer with high speed Internet connection. You should also have a headset, or a microphone and speaker system installed. This is standard when you buy a computer, although some people prefer to upgrade to better sound cards or BOSE quality speakers.
- You must have a voice over IP program installed on your computer. There are several programs that you can download on your computer to be able to make calls. One program is Skype. There is also VOIP Cheap and VOIP Stunt. Yahoo also offers a phone calling feature called Yahoo! Voice. Whichever program you choose, you will need to download and install it on your computer.
- Test the system. You may want to make a test call just to make sure that your speakers and headset are working properly. For Skype, it has a test call function that has an automated voice feature that will direct you how to make the test call. You should be able to hear the automated voice from your speakers or headset and you should be able to hear yourself as you talk. For Skype, it allows you to play back a test call so you can hear the quality of the call.
- Know the minute rates. Not all VOIP systems allow you to make free calls, although the rates may be much cheaper than using a landline. Before you make a call, you may want to find out the call cost per minute. You will see on the main page of the program if there are any charges per call and how much it will be. For Yahoo! Voice, it is determined by the country that you are calling.
- Know the time. Take note of the time difference if you are calling someone out of state or in another country. Make sure it's an appropriate time to call and that you don't inadvertently wake someone up in the middle of the night from your call.
- Have the person's phone number. Regardless of what VOIP system or program you will use, you will need to enter the phone number you want to call. You can make a phone directory right on the program so that you simply have to scroll down and do a name search when making a call.
- Press dial. Once you have entered or selected the number you wish to call, there will usually be a green button or an icon that says "CALL" onscreen that you will click on to make the call. You will hear the computer make a dialing noise, just as you would hear a landline make a beeping sound as the phone number is dialed.
Next time you pick up your phone to make a call, consider using your personal computer instead. Observe the same pleasantries and phone etiquette even if you are calling from a PC. If you have friends and family living abroad or out of state and would like to talk to them for cheap, consider using your PC.