Monday, February 21, 2005

Why the VoIP Boom?

VoIP, often called "vOYp" seems to be the hot new thing in phone service. So what is VoIP and why would it make sense for you?

The letters VoIP stand for Voice Over IP or Voice Over Internet Protocol. The Internet part gives you a clue to what's different about this type of phone service. VoIP uses the Internet to partially or completely replace telephone wires. How does it do that? By using a converter box called an ATA or analog telephone adaptor that lets your telephone speak the same language as your PC.

The ATA converts the normal analog phone signals that have been the same for over 100 years into digital packets. A packet can carry either slices of a phone conversation, frames of video, or computer data. IP, the Internet Protocol, treats all packets the same. It doesn't care what you send down the broadband line or where you send it as long as it is in the correct format.

VoIP takes advantage of the DSL or cable Internet broadband connection you already have. It simply shares the connection. Since you are already paying to send data anywhere in the world, VoIP lets you make phone calls anywhere in the world for no extra per minute charges... as long as you stay on the Internet. It's when you have to call cell phones or traditional landline phones that you go off the Internet and back onto the public telephone system. If you make a lot of long distance, especially international calls, it would make sense for you and the people you call to all sign up for the same VoIP service because many plans include free member to member calling. You'll then likely just pay as little as $19.95 a month for unlimited calls to each other and most all destinations in the USA and Canada.

VoIP is booming partly because residential broadband service is booming and partly because it is easy for competitive service providers to enter the market. Ever seen the inside of a regular phone company? There are huge rooms full of specialized and expensive equipment to connect the tens of thousands of wires coming from phones all over town. Anybody who wants to compete in that arena needs to duplicate this huge capital investment. VoIP providers don't need to do that because Internet Service Providers provide the connections. All they need is something called a "soft switch" to set up the connections between VoIP phones and a gateway to the public phone network for calls that leave the Internet.

What this means for you is more features and great pricing from suppliers that are eager to be successful in the new medium of VoIP telephone. We have an excellent selection of VoIP service plans available. You'll need DSL or cable Internet broadband access (not satellite) to use VoIP phone. Find your residential broadband options here.

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