Some Neat Things you Can Do With VOIP

By: Jon Arnold

Do you know what VOIP is? Unless you have been living in a cave for the past few years, you have undoubtedly seen VOIP advertised at electronics stores, on TV, inside your cable bill, and from some of your friends. In a nutshell, VOIP allows you to make and receive phone calls over the Internet. That's right, you do not need to hassle with SBC or BellSouth or Verizon anymore if you don't want to. The person you are calling does not need to have a VOIP phone, you can call them or they can call you anyway.

The one thing that IS required for any VOIP service, regardless of the provider you get it from, is a decent and reliable high-speed Internet connection. The vast majority of the time when customers complain about the quality of a VOIP phone conversation, the bottom line result is that the fault is rarely with the VOIP service, but it is the fault of the high-speed Internet connection. The VOIP provider has no control over the quality (or lack thereof) of your high-speed Internet connection, so if your connection is not reliable or is "spotty", you need to either get a different Internet provider, or perhaps VOIP is not for you at this time.

The latter situation would be bad news if you look at the economics of it. From your local phone company, you are probably paying $25 to $30 per month just for dial tone, and then you have long distance charges on top of that. For less money, you can also get dial tone, plus voice mail, plus caller ID, plus a host of other features (depending on the carrier), plus unlimited long distance calling in the continental US (or beyond with some providers). It really is a no brainer.

Let's look at a couple of neat things that VOIP allows you do to, things that you cannot do with your traditional phone. Let's say you live in Chicago, and you travel on business or pleasure to Atlanta and you bring your VOIP phone with you. When you get to Atlanta, you plug your VOIP phone into the high-speed Internet connection at your hotel. You can STILL make calls as if you were still in Chicago, and when somebody calls your Chicago phone number, it will ring on your VOIP phone in your Atlanta hotel room! It's like nothing has changed and you are still at home in Chicago!

I have a friend who does this all the time, and he travels worldwide. When he arrives at his hotel in Los Angeles or even London or Hong Kong, he plugs his VOIP phone into the high-speed Internet connection at his hotel, and he is making and receiving calls just as if he were at home in Denver!

Now let's say that you have friends or family in Europe that you like to talk to, but you don't talk to them very often because international calls are so expensive. The solution is for you to get a VOIP phone and get a VOIP phone for them and send it to them. (Assuming of course they have a high-speed Internet connection at their home, as do you). Now, even though they are located in Paris or Munich, their VOIP phone has a Houston (or whatever) phone number, and you can call them or they can call you and you can talk for as long as you want to at no additional charge!

VOIP technology brings a whole new era to the world of communications, and if you are not part of the VOIP revolution yet, you certainly should be, because it is not going away anytime soon!

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