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Communication on the Internet

An English Conversation







Stacy: I am thrilled about the internet telephone technology, but I have to admit I know nothing about how it works.

Sue: You mean how people can speak to other people using their computers?

Stacy: Yeah. I guess that's what I am trying to say. I mean can I just dial a phone number on my computer and speak to somebody?

Sue: Yes, you can if you have necessary communication software installed on your computer.

Stacy: I am an average computer user. But, I have no idea what kind of program I would need to make calls from my computer to other people.

Sue: First of all, you need a Voice-Over-Internet-Protocol communication program.

Stacy: Wait! What's that again?

Sue: Voice-Over-Internet-Protocol communication program. This program makes your regular telephone line communicate with the other person's computer or just regular telephone.

Stacy: You mean a program makes my computer acts like a telephone?

Sue: Yap. But, in order to use your computer for making telephone calls, you must first have a high-speed internet connection

Stacy: Ok. I have high-speed internet connection.

Sue: That's good. Next, you can install Skype for free to make calls from your computer. You've heard of Skype before. Haven't you?

Stacy: Yes, I've heard about it quite often, but I don't know exactly what it does.

Sue: Skype is a VoIP communication program I just mentioned earlier. VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. VoIP transfers voice data to digital data first, and as soon as the digital data reaches the destination on the other the end of the line to the receiver, VoIP again translates it to speech so other person can hear you.

Stacy: Wow! That's neat. Is that all I need? Just install Skype?

Sue: No, you need little bit of more. You need, a microphone attached to your computer and a headphone.

Stacy: I have a new computer and headphone. How can I check out if my computer has a microphone?

Sue: It's very easy. Just do this: open the Programs from the Start Menu on your desktop. Click Control Panel. Then look for the Sound and Audio Devices icon in the control panel. If you have this icon in the control panel, then you have a computer microphone.

Stacy: I see. Ok, I'll do that. If I run into a problem, I'll call you. So is it expensive to use VoIP?

Sue: It can be quite costly, but it's free with Skype if both you and the person you call have Skype installed on your computers.

Stacy: But, that's always not the case. Not everybody has a computer and Skype installed. If other person doesn't have a computer, can I still call that person using Skype from my computer?

Sue: Yes, you can. That's the beauty of Skype. If you do so, you will be able to make calls even to those who have no computer.

Questions: Try to answer the following questions to test your understanding of this conversation. Read the Overview for more details.

  1. What is the most popular mode of Internet voice communication today?

  2. What does VoIP stand for?

  3. When did VoIP begin to take off?

  4. What is the distinction between Instant Messaging Systems (IMS's) and VoIP?

  5. What are some benefits of VoIP?

  6. Are you familiar with a VoIP system so popular among Internet users in these days? What is it?

  7. Describe how calls are made in Skype?



VoIP: acronym - It means: Voice over Internet Protocol

thrilled: past participle of the verb thrill: to be thrilled about: used in this conversation in passive voice: to be impressed highly; to be supervised highly

admit: transitive verb. to accept the truth

dial a phone number: dial is a transitive verb. ito key in the numbers on the keypad

communication software: internet communication programs that includes voice communication, video communication, text messaging and email.

install: to put a program on a computer hard drive

run into: prepositional verb. to come on something; in this conversation, to run into a problem means to have a problem.

act like: to behave in a certain way; imitate

high-speed-internet connection: the DSL connection is the minimum high-speed-internet connection plan for voice and video communication on the internet

look for: prepositional verb. to search for something

icon: noun. a picture that represents a program on the computer desktop in this conversation

transfer: transitive verb. to send data from one location to the other; to move over to other location

quite: adverb. rather, considerable. It is often used as an intensifier of an adverb and adjective. "She is quite funny," "He sings quite well,"

costly: adjective. expensive

digital: adjective. related computer data defined by bits in computer languages

little bit more: adverb phrase. more in quantity or quality compared to something

that's neat: idiom: It is very good. People say "It's neat." when they like something.

desktop: noun. the computer startup screen where all icons of programs and applications appear

benefits: plural noun. things you gain

average computer user: someone who uses computer as an amateur

not the case: it is not true in this given situation

beauty of something: a good quality of something. In this conversation, the beauty of Skype

mode: noun. type

concept: noun. idea, definition

stand for: idiomatic verb. to mean

take off: idiomatic verb-to arise

distinction: noun difference

instant: adjective timely

popular: adjective well-liked

originate: v. to begin

underlie: v. to contain

on the other hand

conjunction phrase - in comparison

widely: adjective many

at least: adverb minimum


VoIP is the most popular mode of Internet voice communication today. VoIP stands for Voice over IP, where IP refers to the Internet Protocol that underlies all Internet communication. VoIP began to take off around the Year 2000. The difference between VoIP and Instant Messaging Systems is this: IMS's originate as text messages that can be changed into voice messages. For example, an email message can be heard from a telephone as voice message. On the other hand, VoIP messages originate as voice, travel as voice data over the Internet lines, and reach to the receiving person as voice. I am familiar with a widely popular VoiP system on the Internet, that is Skype. Skype has two types of VoIP: Skype-to-Skype (computer-to-computer) and Skype Out. Skype-to-Skype or computer-to-computer VoIP calls are made between at least two people with the Skype program installed on their computers. Skype-Out VoIP occurs when a person makes a Skype call to a person's ordinary telephone line. Skype Out calls are not free. For example, you may call your friend's home telephone from Skype, and then you pay for that call.




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