What is VOIP?

by techtiptom


Originally posted on WIBC.com on 03/03/2009:

VoIP means “Voice over Internet Protocol” and it is quite simply a way of utilizing the Internet for telephone conversations. The primary motivations for doing so are cost and convenience as VoIP is significantly less expensive than typical telephone long distance packages, plus one high speed Internet connection can serve for multiple phone lines.


For example, I have VoIP, provided by Vonage, in my home. Some of the features I have include Voicemail, Call Waiting, Caller ID, Call Forwarding, 3-Way Calling, and Call Return (or “star 69”). These are all included in my basic monthly fee. If I had a “regular” telephone company, these features could cost up to $34.95 (Verizon) or $40.87 (AT&T); on top of the regular monthly fee. Now both of these carriers do have specials from time to time that are quite appealing;

However, my monthly fee has been the same ($24.99) since August of 2005.

This is not an advertisement for Vonage (or any other VoIP company, like MagicJack, Comcast, BrightHouse, etc), nor is it a putdown of the traditional telephone service carriers.  There are pluses and minuses to both VoIP and regular service. For example, if my high-speed internet connection goes down, I don’t have a home telephone. Or if the power goes out in my home, no phone….. Fortunately, we have cellular telephones. Should we need to make an emergency call, no problem.

Traditional phone services have generally associated a particular phone number with a fixed address. Portable VoIP service enables consumers to take their home or business phone service almost anywhere. Because certain VoIP services are portable, or can be used from virtually any Internet connection anywhere, the location of the caller may not be capable of being determined automatically.

This portability raises a number of challenges for the emergency services community. Although the FCC has taken action to make sure that emergency calls from these VoIP services will get through to the appropriate public safety authorities, there are still possible differences between VoIP E911 and traditional wireline E911 service, so there are certain things that consumers need to know.

So, when considering telephone service for your home or business; please weigh both the costs and limitations of each offering. And if I can answer any questions for you, write me at techtiptom@wibc.com


Tech Tip Tom