There is no doubt that you have heard about VoIP by now. It's made headlines and is plastered everywhere both in online and TV advertisements. Just in case you haven't caught on to the hype yet, VoIP is the abbreviated term for Voice over Internet Protocol. Voice over Internet Protocol is basically the ability to communicate on a phone over your Internet connection.
With VoIP, the promise is the ability to make local and global long distance calls at a significantly lower rate than over a plain old telephone line through your local carrier. The VoIP trend has caught on and large enterprises all over the globe are adopting this new technology to reduce their cost of business communications which may include fax, conference calling, along with streaming video applications. VoIP has been around for some time, but it has only been until recently that it has finally matured to the stage worthy of replacing everyday phone use.
At the household level, it is certain by now that you are compelled to embrace this technology somewhat, but are not sure how to go about it or even if this technology has any real benefit for your family. You are probably wondering, "How much? How difficult? Is it necessary?" This article hopefully will clear up a few unanswered questions you may have regarding this technology and maybe even excite you enough to go on out and get VoIP hooked up in your own home.
First off, you must have an Internet connection. No, not your 56k dial up connection, but an actual high speed Internet connection. This can be cable, satellite, or DSL Internet, but you will need high speed Internet for VoIP to function properly and become your new calling station. Dialup just doesn't have the capacity or speed to transfer voice digitally without significant quality loss. A company named SpeakEasy has recently come out with a new DSL product that requires no current phone line for high speed Internet if DSL is your current favorite of broadband services and if you are planning on replacing your current phone service with VoIP.
Secondly you will need what is called a gateway. The gateway is connected between your computer and Ethernet modem. The VoIP gateway is where your phone line will be plugged into. Gateways enable freedom from possible computer problems that can shut down calling capabilities or deteriorate voice quality. Computer crashes, slow memory, and many other computer problems that plague us in everyday life, you do not want to plague your ability to make phone calls.
Gateways are specifically designed for VoIP phones but adapters are available for current phones should you not want to buy a brand new phone. VoIP providers usually have the adapters available for sale so you don't have to shop around for one yourself. Before you write off buying a new phone however, video phones are the newest product line and it won't be long before this trend explodes. You may want to get your video phone so you aren't left out of exciting face to face conversations with friends and relatives when they get theirs. Packet8 VoIP has a good video phone sold separately with their services.
The services included with VoIP usually include all the convenient bells and whistles your current phone service provides including your own local VoIP telephone number, call waiting, voice messaging, 3 way calling, and more.
There are some important things to remember with VoIP before you go diving in to this feature rich voice technology. You should check with your VoIP provider for local 911 emergency coverage. Some VoIP providers charge extra on a monthly basis for both 911 and 411 access so make sure you know how much it is going to cost you before committing to a calling contract.
One last important thing to remember is that your gateway is reliant on electricity to function. This means power outages will put your phone line out of service, but then isn't your phone already only functional with electricity these days?