What Is VOIP?

Confused about VOIP? Join the crowd. It's not as difficult as it sounds and we are going to make VOIP simple for the average person.

VOIP simply means Voice Over Internet Protocol. Now you don't need to know anything about the protocol so basically it is using the Internet to make phone calls.

All you need is a high speed internet connection to make a VOIP call. There are many companies that offer VOIP service and offer the telephone with it. Many will even set it up for you. Even local cable companies are offering to set you up. Once it is set up, you don't need to worry about anything. You can simply make telephone calls just like normal. Now you will be making calls through an internet company and not your phone company.

Why should I use VOIP and are there any disadvantages?

Advantages

The main reason most will want to use it is to lower their phone bills. You will normally pay a flat fee and you will get long distance to the US and Canada with it at no extra charge.

You can keep you phone number that you have now.

No matter where you move you can take your phone number with you even if you move to a different area code. My daughter moved to Bermuda and she kept her home phone number.

When you move and your phone moves with you there are no extra setup charges as there is with your local phone

If you are travelling you can set it up to use your laptop or wireless connection, as long as it is high speed. Most hotels these days accomodate this.

No longer will you have to pay for extra features. With VOIP service providers these usually come as standard. Features such as:

1. Caller ID

2. Call Waiting

3. Call Transfer

4. Repeat Dialling

5. Return Call

6. Three-Way Dialling

Advanced call filtering features. These features allow you to decide how calls to a specific number are handled by using caller ID information. They allow you to:

1. Forward the call to a particular number

2. Send the call directly to voicemail

3. Give the caller a busy signal

4. Play a "not-in-service" message

Disadvantages

Sometimes the quality is not as good as phone lines. It's close and will continue to get better. I suspect that within a year you will not be able to tell the difference.

Set up can be very challenging. If you are not a techie, there is always someone you can hire to do it for you. With the financial savings you will get from it, it's worth it to pay someone if you are at all squimish about it.

It does not work well with fax machines and alarm systems. It works and in short time this will also improve.

If your internet access goes down then your phone will also go down. For most with high speed access this rarely happens.

If the power goes off the phone will not work. For most of us, this is also a rare occurrance. You can get backup batteries to resolve this issue if you are in a rural area and it happens often.

Currently the government does not apply taxes to the service. If that changes VOIP may not be price effective anymore.

VOIP is the future and more and more people are coming online with it every day. This may also effect a lowering of the cost in time.

That is it in a nutshell. It's not nearly as scary as you thought.

Jean Sutherland is a technical writer for the popular website http://www.voip-place.com/ where everything VOIP is discussed. She is also the owner of the successful website The Company Newsletter at http://www.thecompanynewsletter.com where you will find loads of free software, articles on marketing and common computer questions.

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