Frequently Asked Questions About VoIP Phone Service

What Is VoIP?
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a technology that routes voice traffic over IP networks. They were first developed years ago for data transmission but their popularity sparked the idea of using them for voice transmissions. VoIP technology transfers voice data into digital signals and routes them through the IP network and then converts them back to a voice transmission on the other end. It allows for calls directly from a PC or through a traditional phone by using an adapter. Some others common names for the service include voice over IP, broadband phone, internet phone service, and digital phone.

What Are The Benefits Of VoIP?
The biggest benefit is the high competition between companies which results in an extremely low cost. In most cases service providers charge a monthly fee that includes unlimited local and long distance calls and a less than average rate for international calls. It is also cheaper because there are currently no government regulatory fees associated with this type of phone service. Another great thing about it is that it can be taken anywhere. When you are making calls over the Internet it doesn't matter where you are as long as you have a broadband Internet connection and can access your VoIP software. This also allows you to require any area code that you would like, which can come in hand for businesses that operation nationwide.
How Much Does It Cost?
The price for service vary widely. You can get a popular service from a nationwide company such as Vonage for as little as $10 per month for a limited nationwide plan while unlimited international plans from them run at $26.99 right now. There are several companies out there that actually offer free service, albeit on a very limited plan though. magicJack is one of the largest providers in the country and they charge a yearly fee of just $29.95. Generally you get what you pay for and the cheapest providers come with poor voice quality and limited features, while the more expensive ones provide the same quality you have gotten from a land line company for years. The bottom line is to do your research and read reviews from some of the top service providers before making a choice.

What Features Does Service Come With?
It as the ability to come with all of the usual feature that we have come to expect from traditional land line companies. This includes caller ID, call waiting, 3-way calling, conference calls, voicemail, call blocking, 411 directory assistance, last number re-dial, call forwarding, E911 service, and much more. Of course the features you get depends on what company and level of service you subscribe to. VoIP also comes with several features that we are not use to seeing with traditional service. One neat feature is the ability to have your voice mails sent to you as an attachment through email. This is a pretty simple feature but creates and easy way to keep up with voicemail messages while checking your email.

What Equipment Is Needed To Get Started?
First and foremost you will need a broadband internet connection. Beside that the only equipment that is usually needed in order to setup service is a VoIP phone or adapter from you service provider for your regular phone. Generally you hook the adapter up to your modem or router and then the other end up to your phone. With a VoIP phone the phone hooks directly into the router and you bypass the need for an adapter. In the future there are hopes for adapters that work via wi-fi so that a connection to your router/modem is no longer needed. You will need the companies software if you want to use your computer for calls.

Is A Computer Required?
In most cases no computer is needed. However remember, it does require a high-speed Internet connection, modem/router, and the VoIP adapter (provided by the company you subscribe with).

How Do I Make A Phone Call?
Making calls with this service is exactly the same as you have been doing for years. Simply pick up your phone, dial a number, and the phone will begin ringing. An added bonus however is that you can get on your computer and make a call directly via your providers software program. This is quite convenient if you are traveling and have your computer with you but not your phone or adapter, if you are on the go and you don't have your phone with you.

What Is The Difference Between Residential And Business VoIP?
Residential services are cheaper and are setup to work with a small number of phones within your home. They can be used with multiple phones that are setup throughout your house but only one telephone number and line is provided. Business VoIP services are more expensive, can be complicated to setup, and are designed to work with a large number of telephones. Generally they come with multiple numbers and telephone lines up to whatever number a business may need to meet their needs. Although expensive on a full package basis, they are still much more affordable than paying for a bunch of land lines.

Are There Differences Between Local, Long Distance, And International Calling?
In most cases free local and long distance calls come with your subscription. Some providers offer cheaper plans that limit minutes and long distance and/or internationals calls. It's really up to you, you can usually get whatever type of plan suits your needs.

Are There Any Disadvantages?
One past disadvantage that has been solved was related to 911 emergency services. Technological advancements have allowed for an E911 service that is comparable to what you get with a regular land line. If any land line company tries to talk you into keeping their expensive service please know that this information is out of date and VoIP offers excellent 911 protection.

One real disadvantage though is the possibility of not being able to use your phone when there is a power outage. If the power is out and your Internet and/or computer is not working then you will not be able to make calls. In most cases this seems to be of little concern anymore with nearly everybody having a cell phone these days. If you go with a cheaper company that has an out-of-date network then you are likely to experience call quality issues an experience a good amount of static. VoIP technology has improved rapidly over the past several years and most companies have kept up, but there are those out there that offer inferior service.

1 comment:

  1. With the VOIP phone that I have there is no 100%guarantee of a dial tone anytime when picking up the handset as with a traditional land line, also some times on a prolonged conversation one might loose the connection, this seem to be a possible daily problem that could occur, it's like playing russian roulette with your phone service any given hour, so I guess you get exactly what you pay for in some cases.


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