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Choosing Among The Many Available VoIP Phone Services

Making telephone calls over the Internet is an exciting and cost saving technology that is taking a position to completely change voice communications forever. VOIP, or voice over Internet protocol, is not a brand new technology, having been around the business world for several years. But in the last few years, it has begun to catch on with consumers as a way to combine all forms of their communications in their homes (voice, email, etc.) and beat the high fees that long distance companies on their customers. There are many VOIP phone services around now that offer the moon and more in order to get business. It is important to carefully weigh the options so that you don't go to the trouble of switching from traditional landline phone service to VOIP only to get stuck without phone service when the provider goes under, or to get poor quality service and features just to save money or get "free" VOIP service.

As a subscriber to VOIP phone services, there are a multitude of options available to you. You can opt to simply talk through a specially equipped microphone at your home computer, kind of like a speakerphone. You can use your traditional home telephone with the service, as long as you purchase a telephony adapter that will convert the analog audio into digital data packets. You can also choose to buy an IP phone that is ready to plug into your computer and use right away. You can even go wireless. Don't be intimidated if you think that there is a lot of strange equipment to set up or that you will be uncomfortable talking on some "new" kind of phone. VOIP phone service is really no different than the phone service that you are used to, it's just the wiring is different.

The low subscription price is first and foremost what is drawing consumers to VOIP phone services. Depending on the provider you choose, monthly charges range from $19.95 - $34.99 per month. This usually includes free domestic calls (including Canada) and very low International rates (often .03 - .04 per minute). And features that you might be accustomed to paying extra monthly fees for, such as Caller ID, Call Waiting, and Three-way Calling are often bundled in with the standard services and standard monthly charge. And don't worry about calling people outside of the service. Most providers have the capabilities to let you do that. And, calling people within your service is often free of charge. There really seems like there is no reason not to switch to VOIP phone services, right?

There are some issues to think about before making the switch to VOIP phone service. You need to consider the provider you choose. Some services offer "free" VOIP service. This is often a gimmick, and what you are not paying for in phone service is apparent in the poor quality reception and limited calling capabilities that you will have to deal with. Some newer providers are often not established enough to handle high volumes of traffic, and often go under, leaving customers in the dark without any phone service at all. It is smart to choose a well-established provider with a good reputation for quality and customer service, in addition to competitive rates and features. Also, it might be a good idea to consider switching only one phone in your home to VOIP. That way, if your provider does go out of business, you have a backup phone line to communicate with.

Don't be too concerned about losing your phone service or getting swindled by a fly-by-night VOIP phone service provider. There are several reputable providers on the market, and a testament to that is the continuing growth of the technology. In addition to the money you will save by subscribing to VOIP service, you will have the freedom of being able to travel with your phone and phone number and make calls anywhere you go. If you have access to a broadband Internet connection, you can make and receive calls by simply plugging in. This is ideal if you travel a lot for business. Besides the obvious money savings involved with VOIP phone service, it is a convenient technology that gives you a lot of options and freedom that traditional telephone services just can't provide.

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