VoIP Phone Service: An Overview
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is simply the use of your Internet connection to make phone calls instead of the traditional phone company's wired network. It is the use of digital technology instead of analog --- and is not all that dissimilar to the transition that has been going on in the wireless industry over the past 10 years.
- VoIP phone service can save you $300 or more a year on your home phone service
- The VoIP services discussed here let you make phone calls the same way you do today
- You'll need high speed Internet (broadband) to subscribe to VoIP
- VoIP gives you the same calling features you have today plus some cool new ones
Switching to VoIP for your home or business is a surefire way to save a significant amount of money on your monthly phone bill. Use the tables below to compare business and residential VoIP providers and plans, and then read on to learn more about VoIP phone service and the options available.
What do you need to know about VoIP?
If you are unfamiliar with VoIP, there is a lot you should know about it. Switching to VoIP could save you a lot of money on your home or office phone bill, and it is very easy to use and install.
While VoIP is very easy to install, and requires very little hassle, there are a few things that you will need to use a VoIP system:
- A pretty fast and reliable Internet connection and
- an IP phone or
- a computer or
- an analog phone with an adapter or
- a TV with Internet connection
In many ways, a VoIP system works just like the telephone system that you are used to. Your actual calling abilities will not be changed at all. IP phones work just like analog phones; the only difference is that they are Internet-connected.
With VoIP, you can also do video chatting with other VoIP users over the computer with a webcam, or on your TV with a webcam.
If you are worried about buying a lot of new technology for your VoIP system, don’t worry. You can easily buy adaptors and gateways for most phones and faxes that will allow you to use them with a VoIP system.
The only major difference you should notice with a new VoIP system is in cost. You will be paying much, much less with a VoIP system. For example, say you currently used the Verizon Freedom Essentials plan for $64.99/month with unlimited calling. To get the same deal with residential VoIP provider VoIPo, including comparable features to all of the features in the Verizon plan, you would pay only $6.21/month. This saves you $705.36 every year.
With most VoIP systems, local and long distance domestic calling is unlimited. Monthly fees for unlimited calling is very cheap, as low as $6.21/month with VoIPo, a residential VoIP service. Fees for international calling are also very low, sometimes lower than $0.01/minute.
Business and Residential VoIP
There are VoIP systems available for residential use and for business use. Residential VoIP systems are much cheaper than business VoIP systems because they don’t have a lot of the features that business VoIP systems have like an auto attendant or hunt groups. VoIP providers rightly assume that if you aren’t an office, you don’t really need those features (although you can usually get them if you want them).
There is also less technical support available to residential VoIP customers. Business VoIP customers are given priority for technical assistance as their business could be hurt by a malfunctioning phone system.
VoIP is a great investment for businesses of all sizes. A VoIP system can cut down on the wiring and machinery in your office, and can simplify your ability to organize your office phone system and monitor your office calling habits.
Business VoIP providers support hosted PBX systems for your office. These provide you with call routing features, auto attendants, hunt groups, and conferencing, among many other features. These features will greatly facilitate productivity in your business without the need for any extra machinery in your office, or any extra employees to operate a manual PBX. Monthly fees for business VoIP usually start around $20 and range to $60/month per user.
Residential VoIP providers provide you with one or more phone lines for your home. You will also usually have a voicemail service included. With these residential packages, you can usually choose to add features if there are some more advanced features that you want for your home phone system. Services for residential VoIP usually start at $8 and range to $20/month.