VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. VoIP phone is also known as broadband phone because it requires broadband internet connection to make and receive phone calls. VoIP technology allows the conversion of voice into digital signal. The signal is then transmitted over the internet and converted back to voice when it reaches the destination.
VoIP phone service has many advantages over analog phone line. The major advantage is the cost. Since the voice signal is transmitted over the internet and is considered as data service, VoIP phone service is exempted from long distance fees. Therefore, many VoIP phone providers can offer a very low rate for long distance and international calls.
Many VoIP phone providers also offer bonus services such as caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding, conference calls for free. In contrast, you will have to pay extra for these services using analog phone companies.
Some broadband phone providers allow you to choose a virtual phone number with an area code different from where you live. For example, if you live in California and most of your friends and relatives live in New York, you can pick a virtual number for New York. When your friends and relatives call you from New York, they will only be charged for local calls and not long distance calls.
Nevertheless, VoIP phone service also has some disadvantages. VoIP phone service relies on broadband connection to transmit the signal, it will not work with dialup internet connection. The quality of internet connection also determines the quality of the calls.
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VoIP phone service will not work if there is power outage and when the internet connection is down. It is safer to use it as a second phone line, or install a backup power supply and get a cellular phone as a backup.
The 9-1-1 service provided by VoIP phone service is also different from analog phone which is associated with a fixed address. The 9-1-1 emergency center may not be able to determine your location based on your virtual phone number. VoIP phone users should update their current address with their service provider to ensure that emergency help will be dispatched to your location promptly.
In summary, VoIP broadband phone provides great savings on long distance calls and is a low cost alternative for a second phone line. However, it also has its own limitations. Customers who wish to use VoIP service should ensure that they have a stable and high quality broadband connection. A primary analog phone or a cellular phone would be a good backup in case of power outage or internet connection problems.