To VoIP or not to VoIP ?

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To VoIP or not to VoIP ?   by Daymon Hoag

Unless you live under a rock somewhere in Antarctica, you already know VoIP is an abbreviation for voice over Internet protocol, also known as broadband telephone. That being said, should one use VoIP ? How does it work ? What are some benefits ? Are there any problems with VoIP ?

To answer this question we first need to know how broadband telephone works. First and foremost VoIP works on a broadband Internet connection like high speed cable or dsl, a DTA ( digital terminal adapter ), and just about any average home telephone will do.

Most long distance telephone calls are carried over the Internet (yes, traditional calls). The DTA box transmits and receives all calls directly to the Internet, bypassing the telephone company all together, consequently; bypassing all the taxes and sir charges too.

With most VoIP services, the big benefit for the consumer is significant cost savings. Service ranges from between nine and thirty dollars a month depending on the plan you choose. Many VoIP companies offer flat rate calling, and some for under twenty dollars a month.

As with any new technology, there are still a few bugs to be worked out. Some VoIP services don't offer 911 service in all areas. The FCC has passed legislation to have VoIP companies make 911 service available to all consumers by November 2005.

The DTA only connects to one telephone. A fix is plugging the outgoing DTA line into the network interface telephone box outside. Unplug the telephone companies line and plug in your own. If the telephone company tries to reconnect, it might fry your DTA box. Put a warning sign up.

This technique will propagate the VoIP signals throughout all the lines in your home. Another quirk is when Internet service or electricity goes out so does your broadband telephone. If you don't already have cell-phone service, a cheap pre-paid works nicely as a back up.

All in all, my experience has been VoIP is worth what you pay for it. Knowing the bugs and their fixes can lead to substantial cost savings in telephone service. Even if one doesn't completely replace their traditional telephone company, VoIP is an excellent choice for a second telephone line or even just as a long distance plan.

VoIP could even be a good excuse to upgrade your dial-up Internet connection to high speed Internet. The reasoning behind it being, the savings in telephone service could offset the rise in the cost to upgrade to broadband Internet service. You be the judge.

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