In this section you can learn about Voice over IP, also called Internet Telephony. VoIP is an up-and-coming technology that is being adopted by an increasing number of companies and private users. Internet based VoIP offers inexpensive telephone service that is portable.
A VoIP system digitizes sound and sends it over a network as IP packets. The network can be wired with T-1 data lines, fiber optic, microwave, TV cable, and more.
A VoIP network can use the Internet as its wiring. With Internet based VoIP you can surf and talk over the same connection. This article discusses Internet based VoIP.
Internet based VoIP is not the same as the telephone service that some cable TV companies and other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer. For more information on these services please read our article About Phone Services.
Is VoIP any good? It must be because a number of telephone companies, or Telcos, are offering VoIP to their customers. They have seen the handwriting on the wall as cell phones and VoIP have taken huge bites out of their traditional landline business.
Your VoIP phone can receive calls on one or more telephone numbers, which may be in any area code. Some VoIP providers can provide a local dial tone for other countries as well. Thus, your VoIP phone could be a local call to someone across the country or across the world.
Your VoIP service can go with you when you travel. By plugging in your VoIP adapter to a broadband connection you can have phone service virtually anywhere in the world.
VoIP offers many advantages but it is not yet perfect. It does have some drawbacks, which will be discussed within these pages. If you can live with them then VoIP may be for you.
- VoIP is less expensive than a landline.
- VoIP usually comes with a rich selection of features at no extra cost.
- VoIP often includes domestic long distance and may include some international calling.
- A VoIP connection can degrade if the Internet connection is being heavily used.
- Telephone networks are generally available 99.99% of the time but the Internet is not that reliable.
- Since VoIP is portable calls to 911 do not report your location.
- You cannot send faxes over VoIP.
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