The Quick Start Guide to VOIP for the Home

Dictionary of VOIP Features

One of the great advantages of broadband phone service, is that in most cases you do not have to pay exta for all of the great features that usually have to pay for with a regular phone company.

This is because most of these features are included in your base plan. But don't take my word for it, make sure you check out the different plans before you sign up.

Also, determine which features are important to you. In some cases the difference in one VOIP plan over another one may be something you will not even use. Or this could be a differentiator if it is a feature you really want and it is included for free. This is also where a free trial is good to see if you really need the ext feature.

Here's a list of the standard VOIP features that you may want on your plan:

3-Way Calling (Conferencing): connect to two other numbers at the same time for a 3-way phone conversation

911 Dialing and E911 (Enhanced 911): 911 emergency calls routed through a central emergency call handling center that may or may not have your geographic address information (depends on the VOIP provider)

Area Code Selection: select a phone number from any of the locations available in the service plan (for example, select a local number or a number in a different country)

Call Forwarding: automatically redirect calls to another number without answering the phone.

Call Hunt: if you have multiple phone numbers on the same account, and you are on the phone, incoming calls are automatically routed to another lines

Call Return (*69): if you miss a call, dial *69 to call them back

Call Transfer: redirect calls to another number after answering the phone

Call Waiting: accept another incoming call while you are on the phone and switch between callers

Call Waiting ID: see the number of the caller who is waiting

Caller ID: display the number, or name and number, of the person calling before you answer the phone

Caller ID Block (*67): lets you block your own caller information when making a phone call.

Do Not Disturb (*78): forward your calls to voicemail, without the ring

International Call Block: restrict international (long distance) calling from your phone Last Number Redial: call the last number you dialed.

Local Number Porting (LNP): keep your old phone number when switching to a VOIP service provider Online Management & Billing: lets you pay your bill online and manage your account features

Repeat Dialing: when a number is busy, automatically redial the number when it is not busy any more

Simultaneous Ring: have one phone number for all your phones

Speed Dial: program dialing shortcuts of frequently called numbers to cut your phone number down to single digit dialing.

Voicemail: receive and manage voice messages by phone, web, and email.

Fee-based Features

The following features are often charged per call as add-ons:

411 Directory Assistance

Additional phone numbers: add multiple phone numbers to your account.

Fax Service: dedicated fax number

Computer phone or softphone: use a software application on your computer to make and receive calls

Toll Free number

Virtual Phone Number: secondary numbers from any available area code that ring through to your primary phone number (ideal for long distance calling)

 

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