The Quick Start Guide to VOIP for the Home, Home Office, and Small Business

Why More and More Consumers are Switching to Voice over IP Technology (VOIP)

So what is VOIP?

Voice over IP technology enables you to bypass the conventional phone lines and make phone calls over the Internet. The voice is converted into digital packets, which are then transmitted to their destination using IP numbers.

This transmission method is very similar to the way e-mail is sent. As against this, in a regular phone network, the voice signals are transmitted through dedicated circuit-switched phone lines.

Initially, the voice over IP technology was used to make phone calls from PC to PC. The quality of these calls was not good, and the user needed to download telephony software to make the call. The receiving party too needed the same software to receive the call. Besides techies, several international students based in the US used the technology to make calls to their countries. Their only cost was the cost of Internet time.

Now VoIP technology is used to make calls from one Internet phone to another or from Internet phone to a conventional phone. In the first instance, the voice data travels on the Internet backbone bypassing the conventional phone lines altogether. In the second case, a part of the journey is performed on conventional phone lines too. For this, the VoIP service providers pay interconnection charges to conventional telecom carriers.

However, the cost of VoIP phone calls is still much less than the conventional calls. The phone bills of users who have switched to VoIP phones has come down by 50 to 80 per cent. The cost of joining a VoIP service can be as low as $ 14. It goes up to a few hundred dollars as the user adds advanced services to the basic package. The monthly charge normally ranges from $ 5 to $ 75.

Another advantage is the value added services that are part of the VoIP phone. These include caller id, call waiting, three way calling, voice mail and many more. But one facility that most subscribers have liked is the phone number. The phone number does not change even when the subscriber switches from a conventional phone company to a VoIP phone company. This also applies to inter-city numbers. A subscriber who has moved from Washington to New York can keep the Washington number. That is why the consensus in the telecom industry is that almost three-fourths of phone users will migrate to VoIP phone service over the next five years.

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