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  Vecta on Voice over IP
  Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has the potential to reduce voice telephony charges dramatically for many companies by eliminating the need for a separate connection-oriented voice service.

Special Internet Telephones connect directly into a company's LAN or conventional telephones can be connected via an adaptor to laptop or desktop computers. In both cases, calls are made over the packet-switched Internet data network.

Today's communications providers offer voice and data services over wireline and wireless networks. Voice networks, despite extensive deployment of digital technology, still require a circuit to be established and maintained during the call between the call originator and receiver. This circuit, on wireline systems at least, is capable of much greater data transfer rates than are needed for voice alone. Data networks use the much more efficient packet switching to route data. Converting voice to Internet Protocol at the user terminal exploits this greater efficiency and reduces cost.

Companies can use Virtual Private Networks to avoid international and other long haul voice call charges. Those who still have dedicated - owned or leased line - voice networks should re-assess their economic viability in the light of these developments.

Individuals and small businesses can readily combine their broadband connections and services from firms like Skype to reduce their communications costs significantly.

Voice over IP will shift corporate long haul voice telephony off expensive voice tariffs. In the longer term, 3G handsets will connect transparently to either in-office systems that intercept local or intra-company traffic or cellular base stations operated by the wireless players. Already companies should ensure that their networks are ready for IP Telephones even if they cannot yet justify replacing their digital PABXs.

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