Internet phone calling has swept the nation in popularity. That’s because residential and business-class Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers blow traditional telephony out of the water by offering more free features and a higher audio quality, with a much lower price tag.
In contrast to it’s popularity, many people still have questions about VoIP and Internet calling. If anything, the increased “buzz” about Internet phone calling has raised even more questions than it immediately answers. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about VoIP, and detailed answers to help users decide if they want to make the switch from their traditional phone systems to a new VoIP phone.
1. How does VoIP work?
VoIP connects phone calls to the Internet by converting voice information into highly-efficient packets of compressed data. This data is transferred online, so it avoids using the outdated infrastructure associated with traditional landline systems. This is what lowers costs, allowing VoIP providers to charge customers far less because of recent advances in cloud technology.
2. Is VoIP better for homes, or businesses?
The features are different, but have one important factor in common: saving money. Residential VoIP services function on the same cloud-based platforms as business VoIP, and they are almost identical in usage. Both systems usually provide unlimited calling nationwide, which is something that anyone can enjoy. While both business and residential VoIP offer savings of up to 80% however, business VoIP is feature-focused to streamline operations, and residential VoIP is focused on free and cheap international calling, with forwarding to mobile phones.
Some of the free included features, like automated attendants and hold music, are more useful to businesses than they are to homes. Still, lots of the other features like caller ID and voicemail are extremely helpful for both homes and businesses.
3. What equipment will I need?
Almost none. VoIP uses existing Internet connections to make calls. There are many different tools that assist VoIP calling, like specialized IP phones designed to work with VoIP directly, but they mostly exist to make VoIP more convenient. Subscribers can simply plug their existing analog phones into an ATA converter, which translates the phone signal into one that is Internet-friendly.
Businesses might consider getting an IP-PBX system, which manages incoming and outgoing VoIP phone calls, and connects callers to the appropriate extensions. However, if this equipment proves too expensive to install and maintain, virtually all business VoIP providers offer “hosted” PBX services. This means that the provider will own and operate all of the equipment needed for the PBX, and the business only pays a small monthly fee for complete access to and usage of the server via an online portal.
4. How fast does my Internet need to be?
For VoIP to function, users will need some kind of high-speed broadband Internet connection. VoIP calls take up very little bandwidth space (which is why so many calls can occur simultaneously), but a high-speed Internet connection is necessary or else there will be lag in audio quality. Generally speaking, the faster the Internet, the higher the quality.
5. How much does VoIP cost?
Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) can cost users 4-10 times as much as using VoIP for everyday calling. Not only is the base rate higher per month, but POTS companies also charge by the minute, and charge extra for long-distance calls. For unlimited calling in the US and Canada, residential VoIP callers can pay as little as $6.21 per month.
Business systems are slightly more expensive because of all the included features, but still start as low as $15 per month. International rates also start at 2 cents a minute, so an overseas call is under a buck for forty-five minutes. VoIP telephony delivers more for less, so consider making the switch today.