Voice Over IP: What is all the hype?

by : Matt D Murren

Have you been hearing the term VOIP or Voice Over IP from friends and family? You might be wondering what the heck they are talking about. It sounds foreign to some, but many are benefiting from this low cost method to replace their traditional phone service.

Voice over IP or VOIP is also call IP telephony. Basically VOIP involves your voice conversation getting converted from a analog into a digital signal and then is transmitted over the Internet through an IP or Internet Protocol network. Ok, so enough of the technobabble.

Why is this beneficial for me?

For one, cost is a huge benefit. If you already have broadband internet access at home, you can simply sign up with your broadband carrier or other carriers like Vonage or even Skype. The pricing ranges from $9 to $24 per month for unlimited calls including long distance. That’s where most people realize significant savings. This flat fee gives you the peace of mind that you won’t have a $100 or more phone bill after the call to Grandma and Grandpa. International calls are also significantly less money. If you have friends or family abroad you should look into this right away.

One other nice feature that some don’t know about is you can get a phone number that is not in your state. The benefit there is that your friends, family, and relatives can call you at a local number where it is not long distance for them. This saves them money as well. What a deal!

What if I don’t want to change my phone number?

Rest assured this is taken care of as well. Most major Voice Over IP (VOIP Providers) will allow you to transfer your home phone number to your new VOIP account. This usually takes a couple weeks but insures that you don’t lose calls by switching to the new service.

Will Voice Over IP work with my existing phones?

Absolutely. You will need a special modem that connects to your broadband router. After you have that in place, you can simply plug your regular phone lines in and be up and running.

How is the quality of the phone calls?

In the early days of Voice Over IP calls often had some interference. As this technology has become more widely adopted the quality is almost not noticeable between traditional phone service and Voice Over IP.

One variable is the speed of your internet connection. You will need broadband internet to consider switching from you local phone provider.

What about all the risks I hear about 911 service and Voice Over IP?

You may have heard news announcements about the risks of Voice Over IP and the interaction with the 911 system. In most cases this is not an issue with the major providers.

You simply register your address with your Voice Over IP phone number and that way the 911 system is able to track your location if you need to call for an emergency.

Make sure you research the 911 options of the carrier before you commit. Some do not offer this option as of yet.

How Does Voice Mail work on the Voice Over IP Systems?

One of the best features of Voice Over IP is that the Voice Mail systems are often much more current. Vonage for example has a solution that emails you a sound file when a voice mail arrives. This is excellent as all your communication can be received via email without checking the voice mail on your phone.

You can also retrieve your voice mail by calling your phone number as usual and retrieve your messages.

The bottom line is that Voice Over IP will save you money and is very convenient to use. This is especially true for those that spend significant amounts of money on long distance calls.

Check it out today and see if Voice Over IP is for you!