VoIP Advantages and Disadvantages

By: Giorgos Kontopoulos

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has been out for some time now but still has not yet received the proper attention from either household users or businesses. Many people have yet to discover the advantages of VoIP compared to the regular phones.

VoIP is a technology that has been commercially available since Level 3 introduced its "softswitch" 10 years ago. In the early years the technology was new and many shortcomings were stopping people from widely adapting such solutions. Lately VoIP has matured a lot and it is a worthy competitor to a regular phone service. Minimum you need a fast internet connection and a PC in order to take advantage of VoIP. Companies might go for more advanced services which include the service to be running to what appears like a regular phone receiver.

Advantages

1. Free or very heap phone calls. Most VoIP providers offer free phone calls to users within the network and the rates to regular analog phones are almost free. Rates for local calls and calls to mobile phones are generally high but still lower than standard phones. International call rate is were one will see the most savings when using VoIP telephony. No more monthly fixed charges of the local telephone companies.

2. Per second charging. Most VoIP companies will charge you for the exact amount of seconds used and they will let you know how much you have spend on each call at the moment you are making it.

3. An international phone. A VoIP phone does not have country boundaries. You can take it with you wherever you go. And the same rates apply regardless of where you are when you use it.

4. 3-way calling, call forwarding, callback services and caller ID are usually standard features (free) with VoIP companies. Those are normally charged extra for, by the traditional telecommunication companies (telcos) .

No system is without its disadvantages

1. Depended on a high speed Internet connections. When the Internet is congested or the connection is slow, phone call quality can be deteriorated and of course when there is no Internet connection a VoIP call cannot go through.

2. VoIP voice quality is in general lower than standard phones. Internet connection speeds determine how fast the voice packets can be transmitted, computer processor speeds determine how fast the packets can be compressed and uncompressed, the choice of codecs used for the compression also take a part in the general quality of the service. As a rule of thumb the faster the connection and the fastest the computer (together with good compression codecs from the VoIP company) will make up for a service that is generally regarded as acceptable.

Overall, VoIP is a great low cost alternative for communication. VoIP are not just a fab that is going to go away. Its not just for kids to talk to their friends on their PCs. Many companies that depend on international communication are already making use of such services in order to lower their operating costs. Major corporations have done some significant research to fix the disadvantages of VoIP service, as well as improve the overall quality. With all of the improvements continually going on with VoIP, it will soon be accepted by everyone as an acceptable alternative to PSTN.

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