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Using A VoIP Phone Service Can Cost You Your Life

VoIP Phones are all the rage. These Internet phones are becoming increasingly popular with the general public as well as among the technologically gifted avant-garde i.e. geeksRus. Chances are high you know someone who uses one or you may even use one yourself.

But did you know it can cost you your life?

We will get to this life-threatening issue later but first you should have a basic understanding of what a VoIP phone is and how it works. VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. These phones are also commonly referred to as Voice over IP or Voice over Internet. VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol is a way of using analog audio signals, like on your regular phone, and turning these signals into digital data that's transmitted over the Internet instead of over conventional phone lines.

How does it Work?

A Voip Phone Service can work on any computer that has broadband connectivity. If you have a headset/microphone, along with a Voip phone system set-up or software program installed on your computer, you can place calls from your computer or laptop to anywhere in the broadband-connected world. Assuming that your friends have the same software set-up or have a Voip Phone Service from many of the commercial providers, you should be able to communicate, i.e. talk to each other.

It basically works by sending small packets of data from one computer to another over the Internet. And since it uses the Internet, the route these data transfers take is as varied and as wide as the Internet itself. You call a phone number and the data is sent to your VoIP company's call processor. The call processor connects you to your friend's phone and a session is formed between your computer and your friend's computer. Your call can now be handled as if it were an e-mail or a web page but each system must have the same protocol in order for you to communicate or talk.

This may be over-simplifying things a bit, but this method is less expensive than a conventional phone system.

Many VoIP companies offer many services that a traditional phone company will charge you an arm or leg for! These include: Caller ID, Call transfer, Call waiting, Return call, Repeat dial, and Three-way calling. And because it is over the Internet you can check your voicemail via the Web - you may even attach messages that's sent to your computer or handheld.

VoIP Phone Services have many advantages over the traditional system, mainly its cheap price and availability or access. As the broadband world increases, VoIP phones may become even more popular.

So what's the Problem with using VoIP Phones?

There are some major hurdles Voip Phone users should be aware of and it is where the life saving advice comes in.

The VoIP Phone is only as good as the Internet system or computer you're using. There may be down times, for example, if you lose your power - a Voip phone will not work, whereas a regular wall phone or conventional phone will. In many natural disasters, be it a blizzard, tornado or hurricane, the power is sometimes the first utility that fails. Communications often become critical in these situations and being stuck with only a powerless VoIP phone may pose a problem. Assuming, of course, you don't have your VoIP Phone hooked up to a portable Wi-Fi battery operated laptop!

You must also keep in mind that your laptop or computer must be able to handle the phone calls, other programs running on your system may disrupt or distort your voip signals if your computer is overloaded or not powerful enough.

Next, perhaps the most important concern, Emergency 911 calls are a real challenge with VoIP. VoIP phones uses IP-addressed phone numbers and not NANP phone numbers. There's no way to tell the geographic location with an IP address; thus routing the emergency call may pose a problem for 911 operators. Obviously, this is not good in an emergency of any kind!

No doubt this hurdle will be fixed in the very near future as Voip Phones become more commonplace and integrated neatly in the wireless Wi-Fi systems/networks around the world. But for now, it is something every VOIP Phone user should be made aware of and prepare for in the case your VOIP phone becomes your only lifeline.

Another challenge, as more and more voip phones come online - there is no world-wide standard in place. This would include hardware and protocols that would make this system work anywhere in the world.

Despite these hurdles and challenges, many believe VoIP Phone Services will eventually replace the traditional phone lines over time. But the revolution is just starting! According to the Forrester Research Group only 5 million U.S. households will be using VoIP phones by the end of 2006.

However, it doesn't take a Crystal Ball or even the Forrester Research Group to tell us we are becoming more and more of a 'wireless world'. VoIP Phones will find themselves 'center stage' in our ever increasing technologically enhanced universe. No doubt, neatly blended into some fully loaded portable, Video/VoIP Phone, XM radio, Search Engine, Wi-Fi, GPS Emergency Beacon, Computer Handheld Contraction. As long as we can keep our 'heads attached' until this technotopia item comes along - we should be ok.

Hey, when Google finally decides to build that Google Box, maybe someone should suggest they load it up with a few extra goodies. Can we talk?

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