“VoIP” and “Internet Phone Service” are two terms that are used interchangeably, and both describe a relatively new method of making telephone calls – over the internet!
The VoIP technology has been around since the 1980’s, but has only recently become a viable replacement for the traditional land line telephone service known as PSTN (public switched telephone network). This is in part due to the widespread availability of low cost broadband internet, and partly due to great improvements in VoIP technology over the years. Today, internet phone service is becoming very commonplace; with millions of people choosing this low cost method of making phone calls over the traditional “wired” telephone.
Internet phone service is cheap. This is because calls are transmitted over the freely available internet instead of the telephone company’s expensive cabling. Internet phone service is also very reliable and the quality of audio is very good. Making and receiving calls over a VoIP service works the same as with a regular land line service. In most cases, you can use your existing “land line” telephone with VoIP. Most people who make calls over the internet using a VoIP service cannot tell they are talking over the internet.
With internet phone service (also known as VoIP), incoming and outgoing calls are routed over the internet instead of over traditional PSTN (public switched telephone network) “land lines”. This is one reason Voip calling is so inexpensive – there are no fees that need to be paid to the owners of the telephone lines. You need to have a broadband (“high speed”) internet connection in order to use VoIP service for two reasons: 1) You need an “always on” internet connection in order to make and receive calls anytime, and 2) You need to have enough consistent bandwidth to allow for clear transmission.
In order to use internet phone service, you have to choose a VoIP provider and subscribe to a calling plan. The most popular calling plans include unlimited local and long distance calling for a set monthly fee. The fee can vary depending on VoIP provider, but averages around $22. For those who have no need to make long distance calls, most VoIP providers offer a “limited” local plan for a reduced rate. If you have a need to make international calls, there are usually some good international plans available, including both limited and unlimited international calling.
Most cable television companies are now including VoIP internet phone service as a part of their offerings. Cable companies usually charge twice as much for VoIP service because they are reselling this product for a VoIP provider. Consumers can save a lot of money by purchasing internet phone service on their own from an online VoIP provider such as Vonage, Packet8, AT&T CallVantage or Sunrocket. VoIP is easy to install yourself and requires no tools. All that is needed is to connect a few cables and you’re up and running.
Phone service is important, especially if it’s your primary residential phone. For this reason, it’s best to choose a VoIP provider that is well known and has a reputation for quality service. Some excellent internet phone service providers to consider are Vonage, Sunrocket, AT&T CallVantage and Packet8. All offer top quality service, and have different VoIP plans to choose from, depending on your needs.