Things to Consider When Selecting a VoIP Phone Provider Written by Michael Lemm
Things to Consider When Selecting a VoIP Phone Provider The following are very important factors to consider when you are selecting a VoIP/Broadband phone provider. Educate yourself and be informed before you choose.
Monthly costs: A VoIP provider can save you up to 75% or more on your telephone/long distance expenses. There are many VoIP providers out there so it will benefit you from shopping around. Unlimited flat rate calling packages can range from $19.95/month to as high as $54.95/month (per line). Usually lower priced providers have more customers and are able to offer service at a lower price due to a lower overhead per subscriber.
VoIP Product Features: Not all VoIP providers are created equal. VoIP offers a great value to consumers because of drastically reduced long distance costs as well as inexpensive local phone service with lots of enhanced features. Some providers offer more features than others. Features like Call Waiting, 3 Way Calling, etc. are usually included in VoIP monthly cost where as traditional phone companies will charge up to and above $5/month per feature. When shopping for a VoIP provider, be sure to compare VoIP providers by features as well as by monthly price.
Keeping Your Number: Some providers allow you to transfer (port) your current phone number to VoIP service and some providers do not. It is not recommended to switch your home number to VoIP service immediately. It is recommended that you try out service and see if you are satisfied before you request that your current number be switched. Keep in mind that if you have DSL service, you must retain a phone number with service provider of DSL because DSL service is provided over that telephone line. If you want to get rid of your current phone company all together, then we suggest you use a Cable Internet Service Provider.
VoIP Phone Hype.....PhooeyWritten by Michael Lemm
I hold no ill will towards marketing, but do become offended when someone feels I should lose my critical analysis skills and buy into marketing hype.
For example - revolutionary new technology allowing 1 digit calling? Easy connect to VoIP via cell phone? Yada yada...hype & emotion... &..well you get idea.
The way VoIP works, there are several critical aspects to insure anything close to toll quality calling. First is instrument used. Next is inside wiring. Assuming both of these are not a problem, access line becomes next major factor. Here there are 3 points. First is quality of access line - its ability to deliver error free bit streams. Next is bandwidth. As a shared application, bandwidth must be sufficient to serve needs of both VoIP and all other applications simultaneously. Third is logical distribution of that bandwidth. In effect, bandwidth must be split between VoIP and other traffic to insure VoIP has a consistent available rate of communications between premise and POP.
Getting all of above correct is not trivial, and those who attempt a pure plug and play approach stand a fair chance in being disappointed with their VoIP service. But let's assume this all goes well (at both ends for an end to end VoIP call). The next issue is travel over Internet from ingress POP to egress POP. Different carriers have different paths, which impacts latency. A VoIP session is probably most sensitive to latency of all common applications (although live video is probably most sensitive). The carrier incentive is to keep as much traffic as possible on their own facility. This is a business need, not a technical need, but it does impact quality of service users experience. Multiple carriers provides protection against failure, but it does not insure true shortest path routing. More important than multiple carriers is ability and willingness to purchase priority transport of packets based on IP header information or other protocol approaches, so that a VoIP call continues as a high priority session and with sufficient bandwidth across carrier's network.