How Well Does VoIP Work?
It works rather well, most of the time and for most people.
VoIP is a rapidly growing business. As it becomes more popular the technology and the supporting infrastructure will be improved. Due to its nature VoIP will probably never be perfect but it is quite good now and it is getting better.
Our Voice Eclipse router arrived promptly. It was up and running in just a few minutes. The printed instructions were easy to follow. The on-line Control Panel used to set up the features works reasonably well.
Call quality has been very good, although it can get a little fuzzy every so often. It is better than most cell phones and close to the quality of a landline connection.
The human problem
Many of the complaints about VoIP are related more to customer service than to technical issues. Some providers have a reputation for not being responsive to their customers' needs or for not handling billing issues and service termination requests properly.
Some of this may be due to unanticipated growth, which overtaxes the staff. As business grows it will be necessary to expand the support staff and the infrastructure. Expand too fast and profits are consumed by expenses. Expand too slowly and you risk losing customers because of poor service.
The technical problem
IP was never intended to carry voice traffic. A connection can have latency, which means that packets are delayed noticeably, causing echoes on the line. There can also be an annoying situation in which both parties keep trying to talk at the same time, not realizing that the other has started speaking.
The Internet is a network that is not maintained by any one organization. A glitch in a router halfway across the country can drag sections of the system down, as can a virus spreading around the world or an earth-shaking event that causes everyone to surf at the same time.
In contrast, the service provided by your Telco is almost always up, in fact, telephone service failures are rare. Of course, if someone chooses to relocate a Telco pole with their truck then the service will suffer but that is not very common.
How can I have good service?
Do your research. Read reviews on line and talk to other users. Be wary of any information source that seems to favor or to disparage one particular provider. Also realize that many of the people who post messages on forums have an axe to grind.
Our resources page has links to sites that can test the speed of your connection and that can determine if your computer is configured properly. A few simple changes could make a world of difference.