The following are very important factors to consider when you are selecting a VoIP provider. Educate yourself and be informed before you choose.
Monthly costs: A VoIP provider can save you up to 75% on your telephone/long distance expenses. There are many VoIP providers out there so it will benefit you from shopping around. Unlimited calling packages can range from $19.95/month to as high as $54.95/month. Usually the lower priced providers have more customers and are able to offer the service at a lower price due to a lower overhead per subscriber.
VoIP Product Features: Not all VoIP providers are created equal. VoIP offers a great value to the consumers because of the drastically reduced long distance costs as well as inexpensive local phone service with lots of enhanced features. Some providers offer more features than others. Features like Call Waiting, 3 Way Calling, etc. are usually included in the VoIP monthly cost where as the traditional phone companies will charge up to and above $5/month per feature. When shopping for a VoIP provider, be sure to compare VoIP providers by features as well as by monthly price.
Keeping Your Number: Some providers allow you to transfer (port) your current phone number to the VoIP service and some providers do not. It is not recommended to switch your home number to the VoIP service immediately. It is recommended that you try out the service and see if you are satisfied before you request that your current number be switched. Keep in mind that if you have DSL service, you must retain a phone number with the service provider of the DSL because the DSL service is provided over that telephone line. If you want to get rid of your current phone company all together, then we suggest you use a Cable Internet Service Provider.
911 Service: Most of the VoIP carriers offer E911 service, but not all. Be sure to check if the VoIP provider offers E911 because it is not a given. If the VoIP provider does not offer E911, then we suggest that you either have a cell phone or traditional landline to use in case of an emergency. (Note: It is also important to point out that if you take your VoIP phone when traveling, E911 has no way of knowing where you are when you call 911 if you are away from the registered address.)
International Calling: If you make a lot of international calls, you will want to do a lot of research on International Rates as they vary by provider. There are a few carriers that offer unlimited calling to certain countries.
Money Back Guarantee: Since VoIP is a relatively new product; most all VoIP providers will offer a free money back guarantee. Be sure to check with each provider as we have seen the money back guarantees range from a 14-day to a 30-day money back guarantee. (Note: Be sure to keep the original packaging that your equipment came in just in case you need to send it back)
This is only a short list. In fact, there are many things to consider when choosing a VoIP provider. An educated consumer generally results in a satisfied consumer.
By Chris Landry
Jumat, 11 Juli 2008
The following are very important factors to consider when you are selecting a VoIP provider. Educate yourself and be informed before you choose.
For the uninitiated, the term broadband phone is loosely used to describe the technology currently available where one can make telephone calls from a telephone system that sends the voice signal over your internet connection. The call may terminate at a regular phone line or another broadband phone.
Until recently, the technology was not being used widely because of its perceived limitations, including lack of features available. The primary issue however has been that of poor call quality.
Now, continuing improvements in the industry and increased competition pushing the development of the technology have resulted in significant progress, to the extent that some analysts now predict that broadband phones (really Voice over Internet Protocol technologies) will dominate the long distance calling market by 2010 - maybe sooner.
Here are some specific reasons why you may find broadband phones a good fit at this stage.
Reason #5: Portability and Ease of Use
The equipment provided by the broadband phone companies can be used wherever you have access to a high speed connection. Most broadband service companies do not restrict you from traveling with your phone. As long as the network that you are plugging into will "automagically" assign your broadband device an internet address (IP address) - and most will - you are up and running.
This means that you can be in a hotel in Japan and still be accessible at the same phone number - your kids or staff don't need to know the hotel's number.
Reason #4: Long Distance Savings
Broadband services typically come with lower long distance rates than you can get from most traditional carriers. This calculates into immediate cost savings. Some services allow you to add one or more virtual numbers to your main phone number. This means that your phone may be able to receive calls from 2 or more different area codes. This virtually eliminates long-distance phoning charges for anyone calling within those numbers' area codes.
Reason #3: Freedom from Tariffs
For the time being, calls made over the internet are not subject to a lot of the tariffs that afflict your regular phone bill. How long will this persist? There are different opinions on this in the industry, but right now it's a nice advantage that makes for an even lower phone bill.
Reason #2: Availability of High Speed Internet
All the cost saving and convenience reasons already mentioned would not do much to propel the growth of the broadband phone market if consumers did not have access to high speed connections at their homes. Broadband phones perform the best when using cable or DSL highspeed internet connections.
Reason #1: Clarity of Sound
The top reason why broadband phone services are currently making swift inroads is that the call quality has significantly improved. All of the major players now offer services that work satisfactorily for residential use and some can consistently meet the most stringent business requirements for clarity.
Finally, considering the initial small investment that may be required to get a broadband phone account up and running, the volume of savings you are likely to experience within a short period is very significant. The flexibility, ease of use (technical know-how not needed) combined with improvement in quality definitely makes this bandwagon a good ride.
By Sabrina Hinds
VoIP is the newest advancement in audio communications technology, and has a variety of different applications that make it useful. VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, and how VoIP works is actually quite revolutionary because it streamlines the process of sending analog audio signals by converting them to a much easier to send digital form for transmission.
To understand how VoIP works, you'll need to understand the basic concept behind regular analog audio communication as well, since this is the precursor for VoIP. Analog phone calls are actually made via fiber optic networks by digitizing your voice communications for sending the signal across thousands of miles, but once it gets to the final destination (a home or office phone, for instance), the signal is once again converted to analog.
During these calls, the switches remain open even while there is dead air and no conversation is taking place; the circuit is also open in both directions even when only one party is talking and the other is listening. This isn't terribly efficient, and slows down the communication of information considerably.
Packet switching streamlines VoIP
VoIP works on a different premise -- rather than circuit switching, data packet switching sends and receives information only when you need it instead of in a constant stream. It also sends the information packets along whatever open channels are available rather than a dedicated line, which is much more efficient. The information is simply reassembled at the source.
The payload of each packet has a destination coded into it determining the ultimate destination. When the computer at the other end receives all of these packets, it will reassemble the information into useable form. This form of sending audio data is extremely efficient because it always takes the cheapest route that is also the least congested.
The compression of information and use of multiple routes in order to send that information over the most efficient route makes sending audio over packet switching quicker, much less expensive and more efficient. The number of calls that can be sent is orders of magnitude higher than it was with the more traditional analog circuit switching systems.
For companies, the savings in long distance charges can be in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year. If companies also make extensive conference calls, VoIP makes even more sense when combined with conferencing options such as document sharing in systems offered by companies like Voxwire and iVocalize.
Different types of VoIP calling are available
The most commonly used VoIP system is from one computer to another. To set up this type of service, you will need to have a sound card installed in both computers along with microphones and Internet connections. For practical purposes, you'll want a broadband connection or DSL -- a dial-up modem will be so slow the sound quality just won't be that good. Aside from that, all you need is a software package that can set you up with everything you need to use VoIP to make phone calls to whomever is also set up with the same system.
You can also invest in IP phones if you want something that looks just like your standard analog telephones but with VoIP connectability. These simply replace the old-style RJ-11 connectors with Ethernet connectors (RJ-45). Hardware such as routers and the needed software are built right in.
Analog telephone adaptors (ATA) enable you to connect a standard telephone to your computer Internet connection in order to take advantage of VoIP options. ATA converts analog signals to digital so that it can be transmitted properly via the Internet.
The newest option on the market is the Wi-Fi phone, which uses short-distance Internet transmission of VoIP to replace cell phones calls. Wi-Fi broadcasts over the radio spectrum to cover short range areas for users in certain areas, and these "hot spots" have popped up across the U.S.
The upshot of VoIP is that standard long-distance charges may soon become a thing of the past. As more and more consumers turn on to VoIP and broadband connections make it easy and inexpensive (as well as practical) to make phone calls over the Internet, fewer individuals will be willing to pay high rates to make a telephone call they can make for free or next to nothing via their computer.
VoIP saves you money on long distance
There's no by-the-minute charges with VoIP, no set-up fees, and no "time of day" or overages. That's the great thing about VoIP plans. You just pay a monthly fee and get to make all the calls you want over your computer for one monthly fee. It's so simple and elegant, and it's the solution that everyone's been wanting and waiting for far too long.
You don't have to wait for a certain time of day of day of the week to make telephone calls with VoIP. There's also the advantage of being able to use your VoIP connection from anywhere -- remember, you're not tied to a phone jack to use your number, but an Internet connection, so you can call from anywhere with many calling plans.
Some of the companies that offer excellent VoIP plans with unlimited calling are listed below with their most popular options:
Vonage currently offers a $24.95 per month unlimited VoIP package to anywhere in the U.S. or Canada. It includes voicemail, call forwarding, three way calling, call waiting and caller ID.
Packet 8 can provide unlimited VoIP for $19.95 a month in the U.S. and Canada with a variety of features like call waiting and three-way calling, and can also give you video phone service for about $29.95 per month.
AT&T's CallVantage provides the usual U.S. and Canada broadband calling with voicemail, call waiting, etc. along with email, a call log and a 'do not disturb' option, all for $29.99 a month. You also get to keep your phone number for life, no matter where you go -- a great feature for some who move around a lot.
VoIP in web conferencing packages
VoIP is used in almost all web conferencing services as an alternative to standard conference calls, and looking into these packages will give you an idea of some ways to combine VoIP with extras such as white boards, document sharing and video. For less expensive options, many companies can provide strictly audio VoIP conference calls combined with text messaging and document sharing without video.
Some companies that offer VoIP in web conferencing packages separate from video conferencing are:
Voxwire offers voice communication with features like auto-queue, mute options, individual speaker adjustments and moderator controls along with a "follow me" browser system so that all participants can view a shared desktop. Two persons can use VoIP for $9.95 a month, or up to ten in a conference environment for $29.95 per month.
VoiceCafé provides similar services with a wide range of options that vary from packages with VoIP capability for five people at a time on a conference call to up to 500 in one conference call, all for a flat monthly fee. The prices vary depending upon what package you choose, and there are several.
iVocalize offers VoIP along with Internet conferencing options like PowerPoint presentation capabilities and presentation recording for future playback. They also provide optional Unicode translation in thirteen languages. The most basic VoIP package begins at $10.00 a month with a prices going up incrementally depending upon your needs and how many will be involved in your conference calls.
It is obvious that conference calling as well as standard long distance calling will be changing greatly in the near future as VoIP changes the landscape of telephone service. "Land lines" for long distance calling will eventually become obsolete as broadband becomes more common and makes VoIP just as commonplace as any other type of telephone call.
And with the greater portability of soft phone options built into laptops and the use of ATA phone adapters, the use of VoIP in the average home will arrive sooner rather than later.
This article on the "How VoIP Works" reprinted with permission.
Copyright © 2004-2005 Evaluseek Publishing.
By Lucy P. Roberts
Seattle venture capitalist, Greg Gottesman, calls it "?one of the most important changes in communications in the past 100 years."
The Boeing Company announced plans to move its 150,000 employees to an internet-based phone system, and several Seattle area residents are using internet telephones to get cheap rates or, in some cases, free international phone calls.
Using VoIP, homes and businesses can save up to 80% on current phone bills, while enjoying a quality of sound that is superior to traditional lines. The only equipment needed is a computer with sound, and a microphone or headset, which can be purchased at a local store for between $5 to $45. Upgrades to existing equipment is virtually eliminated, as VoIP can be used on dial-up (contrary to numerous published claims), broadband, wireless, or satellite connections.
When shopping for a VoIP solutions provider
? Look for secure lines and patented technology.
? Look for free PC to PC calls.
? Check for hidden costs.
? Avoid providers with unsecure lines and/or peer-to-peer programs as public listing of names and numbers, shared servers, or open platforms, as may leave you vulnerable to not only spyware, but viruses, worms, Trojan horses, unscrupulous hackers, not to mention violation of privacy.
By Dee Scrip and her close friend Andy Murray
What is VoIP
VoIP is an acronym for voice over internet protocol, aka voice over ip phone. A VoIP, in essence, is a computer phone that allows you to make phone calls from your computer to anyone in the world, e.g., PC to PC, PC to phones - landlines or cells.
The voice signal converts to data packets and travels across the internet through a VoIP platform, and then converts back to voice at the receiving end of the communication exchange. Leading telecom experts are projecting that 75% of the world's communications will be done on VoIP within the next several years.
What Kind of Equipment Do I Need?
You will need a computer with internet access and an inexpensive microphone if your computer does not have one built in. Although most VoIP voice over ip phone providers require high speed internet connections, there are a few that can be used on dial-up connections.
How Can I Place a Call or Receive a Call?
Basically, the same way you would a regular phone, except on your PC. When you download a VoIP voice over ip phone line on your computer, a phone usually appears on your screen. The computer phone acts like any other phone in that you can dial numbers on it from a pad, or click on a contact's pre-programmed name, and press the call button. You will then hear the phone ringing to the party you have called and can talk to them when they accept the call.
When receiving a call, the phone will ring on your computer and you can click to accept the call and talk, or let it ring (based on the number of rings you have set up) and forward the caller to your voicemail.
What Kind of Features Does a VoIP Phone Have?
Typically a VoIP voice over ip phone not only has audio capabilities, but also three-way calling, text messaging, and contacts list. Some VoIPs even have webcam capabilities. In addition, there is usually a button to click that can indicate to others when you are available, unavailable, away, or off line.
Who Can I Call Using a VoIP Phone?
Most reputable VoIP computer phone providers limit PC to PC calls among their own subscribers for privacy purposes so that the quality of sound is not compromised.
Most reputable VoIP voice over ip phone providers have their own patented technology.
Some VoIP solutions providers require limiting PC to phone landlines or cells to their own subscribers, while others do not.
Advantages of VoIP
? With VoIP computer phones, you have unlimited talk time to anyone in the world from PC to PC for a flat monthly rate
? Most VoIP voice over ip phone providers offer drastically reduced costs for calling PC to landlines
? Most VoIP's offer reduced costs for calling PC to cell phones, however, prices often vary depending on the cell phone carrier.
? Savings of up to 80% off current phone bills.
What are the Costs for VoIPs?
Typically there is an activation fee which varies between $20.00 to hundreds of dollars, although some are hidden. Monthly fees, after enrollment, varies between $5.00 per month to $99.95 per month. If you do not have a microphone on your computer, you would have to purchase one. Cost is between $5.00 to $40.00.
Things to Watch Out For with VoIP Services
? Hidden costs
? Unsecure lines - meaning anyone can listen to your conversation because of shared servers or open platforms, thus making you vulnerable to viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and unscrupulous hackers, which ultimately can corrupt your computer and create a costly computer crash.
? Inability to be used with dial-up connections
? Public listing of your name and/or phone number
? Many VoIP services have spyware.
By Dee Scrip and her close friend Andy Murray
? Computer phones (VoIP) offer the most optimal means of communicating when considering quality and cost, and can save businesses up to 80% on their phone bills when calling from PC to PC, to landlines, or to mobile phones, regardless of company size.
? Over 90% of all VoIP solutions providers operate on unsecure lines or platforms, whether free or charging for services.
? Greater than 95% of all VoIP solutions providers do not have their own patented technology
? Calls placed on unsecure lines travel from one computer (IP address) over the internet to another computer (IP address) have little or no protection in between calls to guard against terminal viruses, Trojan horses, unscrupulous hackers, or uninvited guests listening in on private conversations.
These unsecure lines leave users dangerously vulnerable to the inevitable and expensive computer crash that forebodingly looms over the horizon.
? Calls placed on secure lines go through a VoIP platform (server) that incorporates its own security (including patented technology) against the ills of unsecure lines, thereby offering maximum security, privacy, and peace of mind for its users.
? Note: higher enrollment and monthly fees, or well known phone companies now offering VoIP services do not necessarily automatically guarantee security.
? Contact your VoIP solutions provider (if applicable) and request written information regarding security of their service, along with patented technology they own. Ask if their service hosts embedded spyware on lines and/or allows public access to names and numbers of subscribers.
If the requested assurances cannot be produced, take immediate action to avoid playing Russian Roulette with your business.
? Protect the security of your company's communications and privacy, while simultaneously experiencing exponential savings on phone bills, by locating and subscribing to a VoIP solutions provider who offers a secure platform that incorporates its own patented technology.
By Dee Scrip and her close friend Andy Murray
Dear Internet Friends,
Hundreds of thousands of consumers collectively save millions of dollars each month by replacing (or supplementing) their traditional telephone service with personal voice over IP (VoIP) telephony.
Using IP to transmit voice is not new. Large corporations and long distance carriers have used IP to transmit voice on their private networks for years. Likewise, private citizens have used their computers and the Internet to talk with other PC users for a few years now, but in the past users of such solutions have had to contend with poor voice quality and the need for at least one computer to be connected to the Internet.
Widespread adoption of broadband Internet service (cable or DSL) in the last few years though has in turn fueled a surge in the growth of much-improved personal VoIP
Most VoIP service providers offer all-inclusive calling plans that provide you with unlimited local, regional and long distance (within the United States) at flat rates starting as low as $24.95 per month. Some offer usage-based plans at a lower monthly cost and most provide inexpensive per minute rates on international calls as well. In addition, VoIP service providers include a smorgasbord of advanced features such as name and number caller ID, call forwarding, call blocking and voice mail that traditional phone companies sell as premium services.
When you sign up for VoIP service, many service providers give you the option of choosing the area code, and possibly the exchange, for your service. You can select from any area where the VoIP provider has local service.
So what are the drawbacks of a personal VoIP solution? The main drawback is the need for a reliable broadband connection; without one a VoIP solution is probably not for you.
Power outages present another hurdle. Since VoIP requires a live Internet connection, losing electricity means losing your phone service.
The voice quality of your VoIP call is also another consideration. Since the data travels across the Internet, there's the potential for dropouts or "burbles" similar to what you might experience on a cell phone
Most people we called during our tests were surprised at the quality of the calls, and didn't realize they were on a VoIP connection until we told them. Keep in mind that the call quality for VoIP providers who don't manage their IP networks and depend on the Internet for routing will yield varying and sometimes disappointing voice quality and unreliable connections.
By Syed Akram