The internet has delivered a huge amount oppotunities that people from decades ago would consider impossible. Communications is definitely one field that has greatly benefitted from it, and VoIP services is the perfect example of this.
What is VoIP?
Basically, VoIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol is an alternate way to make regular phone calls through your phone. It’s cheaper and often free, unlike regular phones that can hit yourbudget hard. This is one reason why landlines are not as popular now as they used to be. Phone companies do not offer the best rates. VoIP services also offer a lot more in terms of bonuses, add-ons, and promos.
Most of the time, people subscribe to landlines because they frequently make international calls. The good news is that VoIP actually offers cheaper long distance calling than regular phones. To make international calls, regular mobile and landlines often make the caller go through obstacles. Indeed, this is why the costs for the subscribers are also higher.
But when you think about it, almost every single place around the world has started to amp up their tech, especially when it comes to online services. This is why VoIP providers can afford to give unlimited international packages at a lower cost.
Just how much cheaper are VoIP services?
Price depends on the provider. Vonage Word offers unlimited free calling to landline numbers in Germany. But if you’re calling a cellular phone using the same package, the calls can cost USD 0.0061 per minute. On the other hand, ViaTalk World charges the same for calls to both landline and mobile numbers in Germany, with an additional 1200 minutes free on top of that.
Of course, if the party you are calling uses the same provider, calls are absolutely free. It doesn’t matter if they’re halfway around the world.
Calling Features Offered with VoIP Services
The way VoIP phones work is very different from the way traditional phones work. This is why VoIP service providers have the capacity to bundle a huge number of calling features into a single subscription.
What features can you expect from VoIP services?
- Voice mail
- 3-way calling
- Call forwarding
- Call waiting
- Caller ID
- Address Book
- Mobile app
- HD voice
- Online call logs
- Virtual 2nd line
- Number porting
- Simultaneous ring
Add to this list the fact that VoIP offers cheaper calls to the US, Canada, and other countries and you have an obvious winner.
Note that these services often require whopping additional fees through regular phone companies. But when you get a VoIP subscription, most of these come as part of the package.
What to Do Before Signing Up
First things first: Before signing up for a subscription, you need to get some information.
Assess your needs.
What features would you need? How many phones are you planning to use? What kind of calls do you usually make? How much is your budget?
When you answer these questions, the rest of the steps will be easier. You can easily narrow down which services meet your requirements while staying within your budget.
Compare the different services available.
Friends and family might recomend VoIP services. That’s great, because you really need to read reviews and recommendations before deciding on a service. But remember that different individuals will also have different needs.
Think about your individual needs first. Then, check each plan that each provider offers. One provider may offer the cheapest plan. However, if it does not include the features that you need, you may be better off a more expensive one that has all the features you need.
When you go through reviews, make sure you look at common or recurring complaints as well. You may find a provider that has the exact package you need, but current customers complain about a specific feature you need, you may want to reconsider.
Compare VoIP and landline services.
The biggest advantage VoIP has over landline phones is that it offers an all-in-one package. It’s the option that allows you to save the most amount of money because of this. Especially if you frequently make long distance calls, VoIP services will give you better rates.
For a lot of people, their biggest concern is usually the change in phone numbers. But that’s the good thing about VoIP. Through number portability, VoIP providers allow you to switch to their service while retaining your old phone number.
VoIP offers better flexibility than landline services as well.
Consider your internet connection.
Using VoIP means that you’re not just receiving voice data, you’re sending it as well. This means that you need an internet connection that has a high upload rate. Most broadband connections have high download rates, but the upload rates are considerably lower.
Cable and fiber optic connections often give you the ideal speeds you’ll need for VoIP. For residential VoIP, you’ll need a minimum of 3mbps upload speed. For business use, it has to be much higher than that.
Look for an IP phone or VoIP adapter.
First, let’s differentiate the two. An IP phone is a device that is directly connected to your modem or router. An adapter or ATA attaches to your regular phone to allow it to receive and send VoIP data. Of course, an IP phone allows you to do pretty much everything a VoIP service allows you to do. The capabilities of an ATA is usually more limited, so you have to check what features you won’t be able to use if you go this route.
Different VoIP providers may offer these pieces of equipment at different prices. If you buy the equipment from them, they might give you premium service with it, sometimes for free. Some providers may take a different route and ask you for monthly payments.
Learn how to hook up multiple phones.
Houses are usually wired to allow multiple phones to be set up around the house. If you want multiple IP phones around your home as well, you’ll have to figure out how to make this happen. You can have different Ethernet ports set up in different rooms, for example. You could even opt to use mobile apps to make this setup possible. Wireless phones with different handsets could also be an option to consider. It all depends on the kind of setup you have at home.
VoIP services can help you save money while delivering all your needs. Most probably, you already have the infrastructure. You already have your internet lines laid out. Now, all you need to do is make the switch. You can even eliminate the dilemma of scalability. In case of a growing household or home business, you can easily add lines or tweak your subscription.
Just make sure that you compare services before taking the leap. Trust our comparison and see which provider fits your needs the most.
You may also want to read about:
- Best Business VoIP Providers
- Compare Business VoIP Providsers
- Best VoIP Plans in Canada
- Advantages of VoIP
In this Guide