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Monday, March 8, 2010

Eight important factors to consider when getting VOIP for Your Home

VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is becoming the alternative to the high cost of local telephone service. The primary advantage is the savings on local and long-distance calls. There are also savings for all the extra features that are included in the basic VoIP service. Traditional telephone companies charge extra for things like call display, voice mail and call forwarding. Many VOIP providers offer these features at little or no cost.

With this new technology there are eight important factors to consider before you take the plunge and get a VOIP service.

1) You need a High Speed Internet Connection

In order to use VoIP, you need to have a high-speed Internet connection, such as DSL or cable. If you do not have this then your costs to have VOIP will be higher.

2) Power Outages

VoIP is dependant on commercial AC power from your local utility. Your standard telephone runs on phantom power that is provided over the line from the telephone central office. Even if your AC power goes out, your standard telephone still works. The VOIP gateway, ATA equipment and high-speed Internet modem requires AC power. During a power failure if you do not have a UPS or back up power system, you will not be able to make or receive telephone calls. This could be a problem if you need to call 911. These is why some people use Voice over IP for long distance calling only and keep their existing telephone number with their standard telephone service.

3) Emergency 911

The 911 systems do not know what you physical address is because of the SIP addressing scheme. With SIP there is no way to associate a geographic location with an IP address, so calling 911 in an emergency can be a serious problem. You could be in Vancouver using a Toronto number and the 911 dispatchers would not know that. Most VOIP service providers have a work around that has you call into their 911 center where they can find out where you are and then dispatch the local emergency services to you. This could cause a delay in getting emergency services to you quickly. The standard telephone service uses a North American Number Plan and the local service provider knows your address based on the number called that's in their database. Keep this in mind when deciding to cancel your standard telephone service. Ask your provider how they are handling 911 emergency calls; your life may depend on it.

4) You may still need your standard telephone line

Satellite TV subscription services and home security systems all use a standard phone line to communicate. There is currently no way to integrate these products with VoIP. Consider your requirements if you are planning to discontinue your local standard telephone service.

5) Local Telephone White Page Listings

VoIP providers may or may not offer directory assistance or local white page listings.

6) Reliability

Because VoIP uses a high-speed Internet connection, it is susceptible to all the problems normally associated with home broadband services. All of these factors will affect call quality: Latency, Jitter, noise, and Packet loss. Telephone conversations can become distorted, garbled or lost because of these transmission errors. It is important to have a High Quality connection from a reputable internet service provider.

7) Security

Like many Internet based programs, VoIP is susceptible to worms, viruses and hacking. Make sure you use anti-virus and firewall security software.

8) Extensions

The standard telephone service is analog. It uses 2 wires to transmit and receive the telephone call. You local telephone company may have already outfitted your residence with extension jacks throughout the house. With VOIP, the main connection point becomes where your High Speed Internet modem is located. You may not have cabling connections at that location to the rest of the house. The solution is to have an electrician assist you in cabling the extensions or using a cordless telephone.

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