Internet telephony

a.k.a. Internet calling, Internet phone service, Web-based phone calls

(pronounced: tell-uh-fawn-ee)

What is Internet telephony? It refers to hardware and software that enables people to use the Internet rather than a traditional telephone to transmit voice (or fax). Like Skype, it adds telephone capabilities to a PC.

For users who have free or fixed-price Internet access, Internet telephony software essentially provides free telephone calls anywhere in the world. Although it generally does not yet offer the same sound quality as direct telephone connections, it does over broadband connections.

Historical perspective: Skype is an Internet company that enables users to make phone calls over the Internet to anywhere in the world. It is a free software that allows you to call land lines and mobile phones for an average of two to three cents per minute or connect with other Skype worldwide users for free. For a standard fee per year, you can even get a U.S. number with your home area code and receive calls that forward to a foreign cell phone. Founded in 2003 by Niklas Zennström, from Sweden, and Janus Friis, from Denmark and acquired by Microsoft in 2011, Skype's IM (instant messaging) feature is also very popular. You may hear someone say "Skype me" or "the kids Skyped with each other all night."

The term "telephony" refers to the science of translating sound into electrical signals, transmitting them, and then converting them back to sound-in other words, the science of telephones. Telephony software can also combine with your modem to turn your computer into an answering service. Voice mail is another popular telephony application.

NetLingo Classification: Net Technology