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Building the business case for VoIP Phone Service

Businesses need to look at many factors when deciding on a new VoIP telephone service.  Here are some considerations when shopping for VoIP phone services.

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) also known as IP telephony is technology that provides telephone service over the Internet. VOIP transforms voice signals from a telephone or computer microphone into small data packets, and then sends them over the Internet.

VOIP debuted in 1995 as a networking service similar to a chat room but with microphones and headsets. The first kind of service was computer to computer communication. Consumers were attracted to VOIP because it was a great way to avoid long distance fees. Two callers using the same service could talk to each other for free anywhere in the world. In the past few years, VOIP service providers have enhanced the technology to include telephone to telephone calling just like a land line (analog) telephone service.

The adapter for telephone to telephone service is small enough to allow VOIP service to be portable as long as there is access to a high-speed Internet connection. To better understand VOIP technology, it helps to describe how analog telephone service works compared to the Internet.

Analog Telephone Service

When an analog telephone call is connected, a circuit on a telephone line is opened and remains open throughout the connection while a stream of voice signals travels over the line. (Wilson) If tens of thousands of circuits are open at the same time over one telephone line it can become crowded and affect the speed and quality of the connection. A dial-up Internet connection uses a telephone line to transfer data but it is much slower and less efficient than a high-speed broadband or DSL Internet connection, which uses a separate line.

The Internet

The Internet uses a line with much more space (bandwidth) available than analog telephone lines. Cable television and the Internet can use the same line because television signals and Internet data are compressed into data packets that take up little space.

When a data packet is sent over the Internet, a circuit is opened, the packet is sent, and then it closes. The other end of the circuit only opens when the packet reaches its destination. This process requires less bandwidth and the line doesn't become crowded, which translates into a more efficient, high-speed transfer of data.

Required Equipment

All VOIP services require a high-speed Internet connection (dial-up does not work). Most providers will use any Internet service; however, some require their customers to use their Internet service. For computer to computer communication a headset and microphone (built-in or separate) and computer are required; and for telephone to telephone service only a telephone adapter and a telephone are required.

Savings

VOIP service is popular among consumers because of the over-all cost savings compared to analog telephone services. Most VOIP services offer the same (if not more) features as analog telephone services at a lower price and long distance calls between users of the same service are usually free.

Many VOIP providers advertise their service as a replacement to analog telephone service. However, consumers should know that if their Internet service is disrupted or the power goes out, VOIP will not work and not all VOIP providers are equipped to handle 911 calls.

 

 

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