If you watch TV read magazines, or drive through and cities with billboards chances are youve come across advertisements for VOIP calling plans. Many of these advertisements try to sell their services on how much less expensive their services are compared to traditional calling plans. They also talk about quality and clarity of calls. Youve probably wondered how much of this is true and how much is hype.
VOIP or Voice over Internet Protocol is probably one of the most revolutionary advances in the telecommunications industry. It allows you to talk to another person across the globe using digital network connection exactly the same as way you receive email or visit websites. Because you voice is converted into a digital signal it can be sent across the street, across the country, or across the globe for exactly the same cost. For VOIP calls the concept of long distance doesnt exist.
VOIP calling packages come in two flavors, bulk rate pricing and unlimited calling. Bulk rate pricing allows you to have a monthly allotment of minutes to call who ever you want (just like your cell phone service). If you go over your monthly allotment you will have overage charges. Unlimited calling is exactly just like it sounds you have no limit on the amount of calls you can make. Unlimited calling plans range from $35 to $90 per month depending on the VOIP service provider and the additional features included with your plan. Unless you are making a lot of calls or the unlimited calling plan is very inexpensive bulk rate pricing is usually a better option.
Just like cellular phones VOIP service providers allow you to port or move switch your existing phone number into their service. This is really convenient as you wont have to notify your friends and family youve changed your number. Currently there is no legislation that VOIP providers have to allow you to port your number out if you are unhappy or want to change providers. Some of them will, others will charge you a fee, and some will refuse to accommodate your request, be sure to check this before you sign any contracts.
If the VOIP company you are using piggybacks on your existing broadband cable connection your phone service is dependant on your cable connection. If your cable connection goes out or you drop your cable company your VOIP phone service wont work. Additionally if you lose power in your house unless you have a backup generator your phone wont work.
Lastly many VOIP service providers dont interface well with emergency services (911). On traditional phone lines your address information is automatically sent when you make a call, this isnt true for VOIP.
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About the author:
Jessica Liu is a staff writer at http://www.voiptelephonesystem.orga news and information website about VOIP and VOIP related technologies.