How to Set Up a Computer for Phone Use

by Amanda Kondolojy

Although using your computer for Internet browsing and playing media is enjoyable in and of itself, did you know you can use it as a phone as well? Through the power of Voice over IP (VoIP) technology, you can call friends both near and far using your computer. There are a few steps you need to take to prepare your computer for VoIP phone use.

Download a VoIP program. The most notable free VoIP program is Skype, but if you are planning to call landlines a lot, you may want to get Vonage or MagicJack VoIP service. However, these VoIP services do have associated subscription fees, so read all contracts and be aware of any service limitations before forking over your credit-card number.

Install a headset. Most VoIP programs will work with any headset, including standard dual-pronged headsets, as well as high-quality USB headsets. Simply plug the headset in to the prongs, and if the headset uses a USB connection, wait a few moments for the drivers to install. If you use a two-pronged headset, you will not need to install any drivers.

Connect to the Internet. If you are using an "always on" broadband connection, make sure it is engaged and you do not have a firewall program locking access to any programs.

Open the VoIP program and make a call. This part of the process will vary depending on the VoIP program you are using. Generally, when you launch the program, there will be a call function. As long as you have prepared your computer using the steps above, you should be able to make and receive calls through your computer relatively easily.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera RadioActive, Wikimedia: Public Domain