Cell Phone Backup: Using Your PC To Make Phone Calls

When cell phone coverage is not working so well, remember, that with the right technology you can use your PC to make telephone calls via the Internet – voice over the Internet Protocal (VOIP).
Having a service from Skype, Vonage or other providers means that if you are sitting in a hotel with broadband Internet access you can “dial up” someone using your notebook computer.
The NY Times has an excellent overview and writes Internet telephone service is well on its way into the mainstream.
Companies like Vonage, using a technology called voice over Internet protocol, or VoIP, offer cheap long-distance rates and features not found with conventional phone service. Cable giants, too, are taking Internet phones to the masses.

Now a subset of VoIP services, called PC-to-phone service, is gaining momentum. With these services, users can make calls to and receive calls from regular phones on their PC’s as long they have a broadband connection, VoIP software downloaded from the Web and a headset.
One advantage of such services is the ability to make calls through an Internet-connected laptop when cellular service is unreliable. Many people also prefer the convenience of talking while working on a PC; the services can operate while you are doing other tasks on the computer. Another advantage is price. PC-to-phone VoIP rates are less expensive than conventional phone calls and in many cases cheaper than phone-to-phone VoIP services, which route calls through broadband modems to regular phones.

Read the full NY Times article here.