With prices on the rise for everything from peanuts to paper, everyone is looking for a way to save money. One of these cent-savers is by changing from a standard land line phone to an internet phone service provider. There are many VoIP service companies, but they all have one common feature–the ability to save the consumer money.
What is VoIP?
A VoIP is defined by Wikipedia as “a transmission technology that delivers voice communication over IP network like the internet pr other pack-switched networks,” VoIP is an acronym for Voice-over Internet Protocol. Its synonyms include IP telephony, internet telephony, voice-over broadband, broadband phone, and broadband telephony.
How Does a VoIP Phone Work?
A VoIP phone uses real phone numbers, but rather than requiring phone lines, a voice over phone system uses the internet. Consequently, one must have a broadband internet connection, specifically a DSL or cable modem, in order to have VoIP service.
What Else is the Consumer Required to Have for Internet Phone Service?
Aside from an internet connection, one will receive from the VoIP provider an electronic adapter box which has a few lights that indicate signal strength and some phone jacks in the back. A standard phone is plugged into the jack and the adapter is plugged into the computer router. There are some VoIP providers, like Skype, that require calls to be made through the computer. However, in most set-ups one’s computer is not used.
What are the Drawbacks, if any, of VoIP Phone Service?
Internet phone service does have a few drawbacks. The negatives are:
- 911 is not automatically included
- VoIP will not work in a blackout
- A VoIP phone is not always as reliable as a landline resulting in the occasional instances of missed calls, no dial tone, or the inability of the called party to hear anything.
- There are some instances when an outgoing call will not go through.
What are the Benefits of VoIP Service?
Not only does internet phone service cost less, but it offers portability. Travelers can simply unplug their adapter box from their home phone, pack it with their luggage and then plug everything back upon reaching their destination. When calls are made, they are made from the home number and bypass the need for long distance calls made on hotel or relatives phones. In addition, there are fewer taxes on VoIP phone services.
What Does VoIP Service Cost?
Depending on the features selected, the cost of VoIP service ranges from an activation fee of $24.95 to $39.95 with a monthly cost that averages from $19.95 to $39.95. Additional features such as a toll free number, fax line, call forwarding, unlimited long distance or even having a 212 area code even if one lives in a 404 zone will cost more.
Who Are Some of the Leading VoIP Providers?
While there are a variety of internet phone servers, some of the most reliable are Vonage, Broad Voice, Verizon Voice Wing, Clearwire, Packet 8, and AT&T Call Vantage. The number of VoIP choices varies depending on where one lives.
VoIP, while not used by everyone is here to stay. It will, like all technology, upgrade and improve, but it is not going anywhere. Moreover, thanks to its low cost and numerous features, more people are over, in spite of its occasional glitches. Traditional phone service has not been eliminated entirely, but it is not the only choice. Internet phone service has arrived and will continue to thrive.