IP-relay stands for Internet Protocol relay and it is a relay service that uses the Internet instead of the phone system.
Using IP-Relay, anyone with a computer connected to the Internet can connect to a communication assistant (CA) using a chat-like window under their browser.
Most services offer a simple system which does not require any special software on your computer, and they also provide, if you want it, a free download of a more powerful software tool that adds nice features and improves the experience. The more powerful tool typically offers features such as font and color control.
Several services are available. To make an IP-Relay call, just use your browser to go to one of the following web sites:
Any of those sites, will allow you to type in a number to call, and a CA will then dial that number for you. When the party you called answers, the CA will type what they say and you'll be able to read it in your browser's chat-like window. You can then type a reply and the CA will voice what you typed to the other party.
IP-Relay also simplifies placement of Voice Carry Over calls if your computer does not tie up your phone line when you are connected to the Internet.
IP-Relay calls also have the advantage of being completely free ... even for long distance, since the Internet is used for the long distance portion of the call that you would normally have to pay for if you were using a TTY or VCO phone.