Webcams and VoIP phone service - FMVperformance.com : The site for all your Ford Mazda and Volvo needs
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-27-2006, 02:03 AM Thread Starter
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Webcams and VoIP phone service

Alright, I got two questions that I hope someone can explain to me.

1. How do webcams work? I've heard that some run through WIM, but I have no idea how they really work. I am thinking of getting two for me and my girl who's moving since she probably won't have a phone and cell service is lacking.

2. How does VoIPs, like Vonage work? Can they be plugged into the computer or does it need to be run into the router to work? Same reasoning as the webcams, but if she can run this specifically from her computer (she's a nanny who's living in the house) it would probably be easier for her so she wouldn't have to worry about getting a phone line put in her room.

What's easier?


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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-27-2006, 03:19 AM
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Re: Webcams and VoIP phone service

1. The video stream from the webcam is sent to your computer, where a piece of software encodes it (on the fly) into a compressed format suitable for being streamed over your internet connection. In that sense, it works similarly to IM and chat clients. Your computer streams the video information to your girlfriend's computer through the internet, and vice versa. Just like when you type a message in the AIM window and hit Return to send it. Video data can be sent too. As long as you both have the right software to interface with each other, you can send and receive video data if your connection is fast enough.

I think you can use MSN or even the newest version of AIM, but I'm not sure. There are a number of video conferences applications available. As long as the one you use speaks the same protocol, or "language" if you will, as the one your girlfriend uses, it should theoretically work.


2. I don't know if Vonage uses your internet line or not, but it doesn't have to. In general, VoIP (Voice over IP) works much the same way as a webcam. The phone or headset sends your audio recording to a device (or PC) that does analog to digital conversion. Once in a digital format, the data is then compressed so that it can be streamed over the network. It is sent to a VoIP server that transfers the data to its destination, where the data is then played back through a speaker for the listener on the other end... and vice versa.

The computer that does the analog->digital conversion, compression, and sending to the main VoIP server can be a computer, but it can also be a small appliance built specifically for that purpose. I'm not sure how Vonage does it, but you can have VoIP on your PC through programs like Skype. The calling rates are really low, and PC to PC calls (to other Skype users) are free. You can put a phone handset on your PC and have people call you through your Skype number. Then the phone on your PC would ring instead of your land line, but you would have to keep your PC running all the time. With the appropriate Skype service, anyone can call your PC phone from any other phone (cell phone, landline, payphone) in the world... and vice versa. It's just like having a land line, except there are computers in the middle routing the phone data... and because it goes over the internet, it can be free or at least very cheap.


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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-27-2006, 08:41 AM
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Re: Webcams and VoIP phone service

Vonage needs a router. Or at least that is how mine is set up.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-27-2006, 04:43 PM
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Re: Webcams and VoIP phone service

Vonage offers a couple of different setups now. The most common one is where you plug a phone into a standalone device that plugs into your router (or they provide you with a special router that you plug the phone into), but it doesn't absolutely require a router anymore.

Recently they've started offering a device that plugs into a computer and uses a built-in headset. Might be the kind of thing that would be good for your girlfriend. Just keep in mind if the computers off you're not going to be able to receive phone calls, though:
http://www.vonage.com/device.php?type=VPHONE

How is your girlfriend getting an internet connection? If it's wireless off the family's router she can probably just get a standalone WiFi phone and not worry about the computer:
http://www.vonage.com/device.php?type=F1000

By the way, Vonage is the VoIP service I'm familiar with but there are plenty of others out there. I've heard good things about using Skype for calls from a PC like 3AndMe mentioned from a couple of friends that used it in college. I think the new version of Skype also has webcam support, so you may be able to kill two birds with one stone.

I guess the big question is what does she have available in the way of the internet connection, and what does she need in terms of availability? Does she need 911 service, or to be able to receive calls without the computer?

Andrew Beard


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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-28-2006, 12:44 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Webcams and VoIP phone service

Well, she is moving to Greenich Conn. for a job and according to the family she's going to be with, the cell phone reception is not that great, which I find ridiculous since the average value of property up there is well into 7 figures. Anyway, I am trying to help her out and find out some info. for her so that if she needs another phone, we know what to do to get her set up ASAP.

She's going to be a live in nanny. The house is prewired for high-speed internet and WiFi thoughout the house (her desktop will be plugged into the provided wall outlet) Her being able to receive calls isn't really important. All she wants is to be able to have a phone so she can talk to me and her family. 911 is not an issue since there will be a land line.

I do like your two suggestions Andrew. Have you heard any feedback about the products?


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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-28-2006, 12:55 AM
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Re: Webcams and VoIP phone service

http://www.netgear.com/Products/Comm...pe/SPH101.aspx

this is pretty neat and might work out for you and your girl. there is a FAQ section if you need more info

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