Can You Survive On VoIP Alone
Posted on 01.05.2006
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VoIP - Viable Option for Internet Properties
If you are running or helping to run a successful online business, then
you are most likely also racking up a pretty sizable phone bill. If you
have not explored VOIP (Voice Over IP) communication solutions then it
may be wise to start - it could save you time, and quite a bit of
money. Thanks to its ease of implementation and the numerous advantages
of its use, individuals, SMB's and even large corporations are jumping
on the VoIP bandwagon.
Much to the dismay of the big phone companies VoIP is coming into its
own. The promise of cost savings over traditional phone lines is
driving this technology into the mainstream and it is simply too
powerful of a call to avoid for many. Leveraging your existing
broadband connection to save on your monthly phone expense at first
glance makes sense so let's take a closer look into what it is, how it
works and the advantages for enterprises of any size.
What is VoIP and How Does It Work?
VoIP is a relatively new technology that essentially routes voice
conversations over the Web. This enables individual and business users
alike to replace land lines with phone calls made over their broadband
connection. The VoIP provider, Vonage for example, takes the regular
analog voice conversations and converts that data into a digital signal
which can then be sent across the Internet. This data is
converted back into an analog signal before the recipient picks up the
One interesting thing about VoIP is that there are three different ways to place a call that are in common use today:
- The simplest and most common way to set up VoIP is through the use of
an ATA device (analog telephone adaptor) which converts analog signals
(think traditional phone lines) to digital signals for transmission
over the Internet. This means users can "plug and play" by connecting a
standard phone to an Internet broadband connection. Providers like
Vonage are bundling ATAs free with their service. There is typically
some software associated with the host computer but it is usually as
simple as downloading and installing software.
- IP Phones are specialized phones that look and act just like normal
phones. Instead of having the standard phone connectors however, IP
phones utilize an Ethernet connection which plugs directly in to your
router. This means all necessary hardware, software and drivers are
immediately available to make the IP call. Pricing for individual
IP phone system starts at around one hundred dollars while complete IP
phone systems can run into the thousands of dollars.
-Arguably the most popular way to use VoIP is Computer-to-Computer.
Several companies, such as Skype, are offering free or very low-cost
software that you can use for this type of VoIP. Getting started is
incredibly easy - all you need is the software, a microphone, speakers,
a sound card and an Internet connection. Skype in fact has release
their own Skype handset designed specifically for its users. Except for
your normal monthly Internet charges, there is usually often no charge
for computer-to-computer calls, regardless of the distance.
The Primary Advantages of VoIP
VoIP is Cost Efficient
Whether it is for your work at home business or Fortune 500 Company,
VoIP is typically much less expensive than other telecommunication
applications for both long distance and local calls.cv Why? Well
for one, most VoIP service providers have plans that allow unlimited
local and long distance calling. Another reason is that businesses grow
and it is expensive to add to an existing traditional telecommunication
system. Instead of installing additional phone jacks and wires, you
just add on to your VoIP system.
VoIP - Comprehensive Communications
Unlike your traditional phone system, VoIP lets individuals and
businesses to integrate phone communication needs with computer
applications such as data (email) or conferencing (Web and Video)
applications. The lower cost and additional freedom of utilizing a
complete suite of products simultaneously is not just saving VoIP users
money, it is making communication as a practice more efficient. Coupled
with the additional features that often come bundled with VoIP calling
plans such as voice mail, call forwarding and caller ID, it is no
wonder that many are turning in that direction.
VoIP Provides Flexibility
Another reason people are choosing VoIP solutions is the flexibility it
provides. For instance, when traveling on the road for business or
vacation, I take my laptop and can connect and both make and take phone
calls at any Wi-Fi hotspot. As you may have guessed, this pleases both
my support staff and my superiors. With companies footing the bill for
mobile employees cell phone bills, VoIP solutions offers some salvation.
Ready to VoIP?
Many businesses are flocking to VoIP for some of the reasons outlined
above. There are some legal concerns however. The FCC is currently
involved in the issues between VoIP providers and Internet access.
providers. Enhanced 911 services are in many instances already mandated
and additional steps are being made to bring this technology further
into the mainstream. Make no mistake about VoIP. It has arrived and is
here to stay.
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