Read these 6 Advantages of VoIP Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about VOIP tips and hundreds of other topics.
VoIP has two BIG things going for it: It's flexible and cheap.
You can call from wherever you can get a broadband connection. You just need an adapter (ATA), or an IP phone or a computer. And, of course, an Internet service provider, but who doesn't have one of those these days.
Since IP phones or ATAs send their info over the Internet, they can be managed by the provider wherever there's a connection. VoIP is a boon to business travelers who can pack their phones or ATAs on trips and always have access to their home phones.
A VoIP phone plan can cost you as little as $30 a month. You'd have a minute-rate plan similar to a cell phone bill. Some VoIP companies offer unlimited plans for around $79. These higher-end plans offer a set of free features including caller ID and call waiting for which the regular phone company charges extra.
VoIP technology, a packet-switching technique, uses the Internet to provide phone service and has several advantages over circuit switching.
Packet switching allows several telephone calls to occupy the same amount of space that would take up only one phone call on a circuit-switched network. Using the PSTN (public switched telephone network), a 10-minute phone call uses 10 full minutes of transmission time at a cost of 128 kbps.
A 10-minute call using VoIP may occupy only 3.5 minutes of transmission time at a cost of 64 kbps. So, those 3.5 minutes leave the other 64 kbps free. In addition, during the 6.5 minutes of silence included in a 10-minute conversation, the 128 kbps capacity can be used in other ways.
Another three or four calls could easily fit into the space used by a single phone call using circuit switching. Data compression would further reduce the size of each call.
If you want PBX-style services for a home or virtual office, a VOIP solution can be an inexpensive answer. Most single-line IP PBX services offer everything you'd get from a traditional PBX service, including conferencing, caller ID, call forwarding and call answering. Some VOIP companies also offer virtual IP PBX services, which can tie wireless, IP and LAN-lines under a single number, with all of the standard services.
One of the easiest ways to set up an IP PBX system is to find a company that offers a hosted IP PBX solution. The idea here is to let the host company set up everything: ring groups, extension dialing, conferencing, etc. All you do is purchase the service for a monthly rate and then configure it yourself over the web. There's little set-up or networking required on your end.
There are times in business when using a computer to make your video calls is inconvenient or uncomfortable. This is when you may decide to upgrade to a video phone. Most video phones offer services that allow you to plug a camera into the phone for larger-scale video conferencing, and at the same time run video output to a TV screen. Just make sure the person on the other end is running a compatible video phone service.
The easiest way to make video phone calls over a VOIP network is to use a VOIP service that runs through your computer. You don't need to invest in an expensive video phone. All you need is a web cam and a headset or microphone. It also can be much less expensive, with many plans offering low-cost or free video calling within their own network.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|