VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, converts analog audio signals (like the kind you hear over a standard phone) into digital data that can transmit over the Internet. What this means for VoIP home customers is inexpensive and often free calling that bypasses traditional phone accounts. There are several ways to take advantage of VoIP home technology. One of the most common is through the use of an ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter) which converts the signal and allows use of your own standard phone. VoIP home providers like Vonage generally include ATAs free with service. There are also specifically designed IP phones that can plug directly into your router. But perhaps the easiest way to communicate through VoIP is computer-to-computer. Companies like Skype offer this service at little or no cost even when calling long distance or internationally.
The Upside of VoIP Home Phone
- The price can’t be beat. Providers like Vonage charge less than traditional phone companies. Services like Skype can be virtually free.
- VoIP home service comes with all the standard phone features like call waiting, caller ID and voice mail usually at no extra charge.
- Additional VoIP amenities may include the ability to monitor call history on your computer, retrieve voice messages via email and video conferencing.
- VoIP offers the ultimate in mobility. If you’ve got a wi-fi signal, you’ve got a phone.
The Downside of VoIP Home Phone
- VoIP is susceptible to all the glitches and quirks along the Internet highway. Latency, jitters and dropped packets can all affect the quality of calls. If you don’t have a strong Internet connection you probably won’t have a strong VoIP connection. Test Your Speed to see where you stand, and Get More Speed if you need it.
- Unlike POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) VoIP will not function during a power outage.
- Services like Skype do not offer 911 calling. Vonage offers access to an E911 service but for safety reasons, VoIP should not become a complete substitute for you home phone.
VoIP: The Future of Home Phone
Chances are you’ve probably already utilized VoIP even if you weren’t aware of it. Major phone companies like AT&T are transitioning to the technology in order to handle more calls more efficiently. And because the technology is an integral part of your Internet connection VoIP is ideal for enhancing your Home Office and fully Connected Home. Enjoy all the benefits of VoIP today.