Everywhere you go these days, people who have received VOIP telephony service seem to be talking about how good it is. Many students would rather use VOIP phone services than have a normal phone in their residence or apartment. What is all the fuss about? Have you ever felt like you were missing something, but you didn’t know what exactly you were missing?
VOIP can be helpful, but you need to know exactly what it is and what it is not. There are drawbacks to VOIP phone services that you need to know about to decide if VOIP is right for you.
Overview of VoIP
VOIP telephony services use your existing broadband Internet connection to make and receive calls over the Internet. This is a brief description of VOIP. However, to decide if VOIP is right for you, you need to dig a little deeper than the surface.
First of all, it is not possible to get phone numbers in all parts of the country. If you live in a rural area, local numbers may not be available for VOIP services. This means that a local person who wants to call you, even if it is your neighbor, will have to make a long-distance call to reach you.
Yes, you can “port” your existing phone number to the new VOIP service, but there are so many horror stories of phone carriers screwing things up that I don’t recommend this option. But as with many things, what happens, in reality, doesn’t reflect the simplicity of the process.
Also, you need a high-speed Internet connection, which not all VOIP providers have. They assume they already have it. As DSL and cable Internet prices continue to drop for consumers, this is largely true. However, even if you already have a high-speed Internet connection, you should carefully consider the following two points.
- A high-speed Internet connection does not include a satellite TV. If you have a satellite broadband Internet connection, you should not consider VOIP, as it will not satisfy you. Sure, they’ll sell it to you, but with a satellite broadband connection, you won’t be satisfied, and at best, you’ll sound like you’re talking from the bottom of your bathtub.
- Is your existing broadband connection reliable? Remember that if your broadband Internet connection goes down, your VOIP service will also go down and you won’t be able to make or receive calls – if you’re using DSL and your speed is very slow because you’re at the end of that line, problems can arise with VOIP as well.
VoIP phone advantages over traditional phones
If you haven’t already, a VOIP phone service might be a good idea for you – the quality of VOIP calls is usually as good or better than traditional telephony. The biggest advantage of VOIP, however, is the economics. With a phone company, the phone line is expensive and in exchange, you get a dial tone and possibly unlimited local calls. That’s it, everything else is billed separately. But with VOIP phone service, you get unlimited calls to the continental U.S. (and Canada for some VOIP providers), caller ID, voicemail and call waiting, and the cost of VOIP service is about the same as some VOIP providers. Even if they are the same, long-distance calls are already included in the VOIP service is a major advantage.
Cecilia Lyman Robertson is a 44-year-old CEO who enjoys networking, VoIP phone, and Fax Over VoIP. She has a post-graduate degree in business studies.