As technologies mature and more households gain access to high-speed Internet, consumers will come to realize that it is simply more efficient and cost-effective to send packets of voice over the Internet than over a point-to-point circuit-switched landline.
Long-distance charges become a thing of the past, and international calls are pennies a minute if not free to some countries.
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VoIP solutions are readily available to anyone with a high-speed Internet connection, and the only hardware needed is an Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA) and a phone.
For most consumers, utilizing a calling plan from a VoIP service provider is the best solution. Most VoIP service providers will provide the ATA hardware (or software) for free, and monthly charges range from free on up.
Peer to Peer VoIP
The least expensive VoIP solution would be using a computer on a peer-to-peer network. Offered from such VoIP service providers as Skype or the Gizmo Project, the software is free to download and calls within the network are free worldwide. Calls to PSTN numbers are charged at a low VoIP rate.
Peer to Peer VoIP is a software solution, meaning that no ATA is required, and your phone is a pair of earplugs and a microphone plugged into your computer. The downside is that call quality is lacking compared to some of the hardware VoIP solutions available.