I can’t tell you how many times my 78 year old grandfather has mentioned the price of a home phone line. Every Christmas, Thanksgiving or just a routine visit, the subject of an increased phone bill comes up. Voice over Internet Protocol seems to be a great solution for him. My grandparents have a computer and they don’t use the phone that much. This service also seems perfect for those that make lost distance calls more often.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is simply the transmission of voice traffic over IP-based networks. In Nadeen Unuth’s article on http://voip.about.com/od/voipbasics/a/whatisvoip.htm VoIP transmits the sounds you make over the standard Internet infrastructure, using the IPProtocol. You can use this service for free through your computer to another computer with a microphone and speakers. There is a charge if you want to use your traditional phone to make calls. You can buy an adapter or buy a special VoIP phone for about $100.
Due to the exceptional quality of our traditional land line phone services, customers using VoIP have noticed the slightest of discrepancies. Two major issues seem to be the clarity and the echo sound in the phone. This can all depend on the type and speed of the internet connection being used. The reason this system is not flawless is because data has to be compressed and transmitted, then decompressed and delivered.
Nextiva www.nextiva.com is more for small businesses and offers a monthly package for $19.99, Vonage www.Vonage.com offers an introductory rate of $29.99 and will wave the registration fee. Cisco focuses mainly on larger businesses although they do have services and features for families and small businesses www.cisco.com.
I am in the process of starting a small business and will most likely be using VoIP within the next month. I use the internet for everything and an additional home phone line would be too costly. I was really interested in http://www.voip.com/. The web site was easy to use and they offer the option to choose a toll free number, which I would like.