by Sam Schechner
I’m sitting in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. I just spoke with my girlfriend in New York for an hour. Per-minute cost: $0. That’s because my trusty Internet phone came along with me.
An Internet phone is nothing more than an inconsequential-looking electronic adapter with blinking lights on the front and a few jacks in the back. Plug a normal telephone into its phone jack, then plug the adapter directly into your router, which is hooked up to a broadband Internet connection. Some Internet phone carriers also let you make calls through your computer; others, like Skype, require it. But the genius of most Internet phones is that your computer isn’t involved at all.