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Configuring a cost-effective VoIP network for overseas calls

VoIP deployment does not require a specific network. Learn how to set up VoIP using your broadband connection and make long distance calls for free.

I would like to set up a VoIP network between myself and my mother, who lives in another country overseas. Both my mother and I have IP phones and broadband connections, but I'm not sure what else I would need. Could you recommend a solution that would allow me to speak with my mother while avoiding the high cost of long-distance telephone service?
The good news is that you have just about everything that's needed to make VoIP calls with your mother. You actually don't need a "network" -- your broadband connection really is your gateway to the Internet, and from there you have many options. In fact, if you both have IP phones, VoIP is very easy to set up. Because your IP phones are connected to your Internet service, you don't even need to have your computer running.

If all you want to use VoIP for is having calls with your mother, you don't need to go through the expense of signing up for subscription-based services offered by most cable operators or independents like Vonage. These services are usually replacements for your current phone service, and the commitment may not be warranted if this is all you want to do. Also, these plans typically offer free long distance within North America, and while international calls are cheaper than what your phone company charges today, you will still have to pay for these calls.

A better solution may be to use an Internet based VoIP service, the best known of which is Skype. These services work on a similar principal as Instant Messaging, where you can communicate very efficiently within your buddy group. Services like Skype offer the same capability for voice communication, although these calls are usually made on your PC. However, you could easily connect your IP phone to your PC and the service would work fine. Calls to others on the Skype network are free, and for this reason, services like this are very popular. Instant Messaging platforms such as Yahoo, MSN or Google offer similar capabilities, but they're not nearly as popular. As such, all you really need is to sign up for is a service like this, and for the most part, calls to your mother will be free.

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