A VoIP solution lets you make phone calls over an Internet connection. It will save money for both residential customers and businesses.
VoIP solutions are Internet phone calls, cost-effective alternatives to traditional phone calls. With VoIP, voice travels over a data network for increased efficiency and fewer transfers between networks (which lowers the cost).
You must have a high speed internet connection in order to use VoIP. With a dial-up, your connection speed will not be fast enough to support the downloading and uploading (data transfer) that occurs when you’re making a VoIP call.
The recommended speed for your broadband Internet connection is 90 kbps.
Users can manage incoming and outgoing phone calls with fellow users and local regular phone users for free. Long distance and international calls are usually charged at a low-cost rate. VoIP solutions are hardware-based or software-based.
Hardware-Based VoIP Solutions
Hardware VoIP solutions require an adapter or converter box that connects the landline phone to the broadband modem or home router. As a result, you do not need a computer to manage your phone calls.
Specifically, hardware-based VoIP solutions need an ATA, which is an analog-to-digital converter that connects a traditional phone to the Internet. Most VoIP solution providers include the adapter in the cost of their monthly packages, but others require you sign for a loaned ATA or purchase it outright. Most adapters are locked or password-protected to only work with the service provider that sold it.
Another VoIP solution is a VoIP phone, which looks like a standard phone but connects to your router with an Ethernet cable.
These VoIP phones, which do not require software or a computer, are available in three types of protocols: MGCP (Media Gateway Control Protocol), H.323, and SIP (Session Initiation Protocol). VoIP phones cost $40 on average, but can run up to $150 if they are SIP phones. SIP is a special, universal protocol that many providers use.
Software-Based VoIP Solutions
Software-based VoIP solutions, or softphones, offer free calls between users of the same software. When you use computer-to-phone software, you can take or make calls from a computer with a traditional phone phone, an USB phone, or a headset with a microphone.
A drawback to using software-based VoIP solutions is that you have to use your computer to make phone calls. However, there are adapters offered by magicJack and Vonage that offers Internet phone service without a powered-on computer.
Also, calling someone who is not on the same network as you are will end up costing you money.
Specific Types of VoIP Solutions
Beyond these two general types of VoIP solutions, there are phone plans that cater to various domestic or business needs of consumers. For businesses, there are hosted VoIP solutions and enterprise VoIP solutions.
Hosted VoIP solutions are a cost-effective way to manage Internet phone calls without the hassles of hardware and software equipment, which is usually located at an offsite data center. Enterprise VoIP solutions are for large businesses or corporations that need a secure and reliable phone system, so their equipment is located at their premises to ensure safety and dependability.