VOIP, or Voice over Internet Provider service, is still growing as a technology. Some people absolutely swear by it, while others would prefer to stick with a traditional phone line. If you are considering going with VOIP, make sure that you consider all the advantages and disadvantages so that you know you are making an informed and educated decision.
Disadvantages of VOIP
Do you live in an area that is prone to frequent power loss? If so, VOIP might not be the best choice for you. Because VOIP is powered by your home’s electrical current instead of the current in the phone line, when you lose power, you lose VOIP, which could be a real problem in an emergency. If you run a generator when you lose power and you wire it into the home, make sure your VOIP is hooked up to an outlet on the generator. You want to make sure that your router and all other equipment needed to run your internet will also need to be hooked up as well.
Although this may be fixed in the future, at this time 911 services cannot identify the location of a call that originates over VOIP. A new standard called e911 is in the works, which may eliminate this issue, but in the meantime, unless you can clearly state your location, calling 911 over the internet line may be useless.
Some people have complained about the quality of phone calls that are transmitted over the internet. Information that travels through the internet gets scrambled, and sometimes bits of data can get lost. While these data bits may be inconsequential for an email, in a real-time phone conversation, it can interfere with the sound quality and lead to momentary silences, especially on a network that is receiving a great deal of traffic.
Advantages of VOIP
What most people like best about VOIP is the very low cost, compared to traditional phone service. With a fast Internet connection, like cable or DSL, you can actually make PC-to-PC calls for free to anywhere in the world, with a small charge for PC-to-phone calls. Some providers charge a nominal monthly fee and allow you unlimited calling to anywhere in their geographic area.
Thanks to netbooks and laptops, you can make VOIP calls anywhere you can get a broadband Internet connection. This means that, unlike a home phone line, VOIP is highly portable. This is especially great for people who travel a lot and want to cheaply keep in touch with people at home or at work or people who run a home business. Because of call forwarding, your phone number remains the same, regardless of where in the world you are, and you don’t have the problem of being charged roaming minutes.
Unlike traditional phone companies who love to tack on extra charges for every imaginable service, VOIP includes a number of features free with the service. Some of these features include call waiting, caller ID, call forwarding, voice mail and three-way calling. Additionally, you have the option of sending data such as pictures and video during your phone conversation.
VOIP has some strong advantages over traditional phone service and the developers of VOIP technology are constantly working to find ways to fix the disadvantages. Eventually they may all be worked out. After all, no new technology comes in to market in a perfect form; some kinks always have to be worked out. If you are looking for a product that is convenient and saves you a great deal of money every month, VOIP may be a good choice for you.