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What is Internet Telephone Service?
There is a common misconception about the difference between Internet phone service and VoIP but we’re here to help clear this up for you as it’s actually quite simple. In the oft questioned comparison of Internet phone service vs. VoIP there is actually no difference, they are one and the same and these terms can and are often used interchangeably. In its simplest terms, Internet phone service or VoIP is just as it sounds, phone service through the Internet. With a high-speed internet connection, you can have phone service delivered directly through your internet connection rather than your local phone company.
Internet phone calls were designed to provide access to voice communication anywhere in the world with a high-speed internet connections and at much cheaper of a price. It effectively takes your everyday telephone audio and converts it into a digital type format that can be sent and received by IP networks (the Internet). This service is also very versatile and can include communication services such as VoIP faxing, voice-messaging and SMS text messaging which are all sent over the web instead of the public switched telephone network (PSTN).
Internet phone services differ from provider-to-provider so it is important to do some research before you decide to sign up for a specific service. For example, some providers may allow you to call anyone, while others require the other person be on the same service (WhatsApp for example). In addition, some services require you to call directly from your computer (Skype for example), while others allow you to use a traditional phone that is hooked up to a VoIP adapter and still others require the use of a special VoIP Phone.
Who Uses Internet Phone Services?
Many consumers add VoIP capabilities in place of their already existent traditional residential phone services. This is due in large part to the fact that VoIP providers typically offer lower prices than traditional local phone companies. Call quality use to be a major concern with Internet phone providers but technological advances have rendered that concern a moot point (provided you have sufficient internet speeds). One minor drawback is some residential VoIP providers still do not offer essential services such as 911 or 411 directory assistance, though these service are gradually becoming more and more common as companies compete for your business. Besides this there are little if any drawbacks to Internet phone service, hence why it is becoming increasingly popular. We can only imagine how popular Internet phone service would be if not for the advent of the smartphone causing millennial’s to drop the home phone line all together.
In the business world, VoIP phone systems are being utilized to a much greater extent due to their extensive cost savings and the need for businesses to maintain a dedicated business phone line. Your standard, every day VoIP service will only allow you to talk to one person at a time. But with a business phone system you can leverage multiple phones and multiple phone lines for several up employees and on up to hundreds of employees all making calls at the same time. There are lots of extra features available to suit your businesses needs such as having an auto-attendant, being able to put someone on hold, hosting virtual business meetings, conference calls and many many more. These features help to save companies both time and money, no longer having to pay expensive traditional phone rates or travel for in-person business meeting.
Advantages Of Internet Phone Service
If you are considering trying out VoIP Phone service and you are already equipped with a reliable computer and high-speed internet access, then all you need to get started is a microphone and speakers. Depending on what company you choose; an Internet phone, VoIP phone or regular telephone is not always required, which can allow you to further your savings beyond cutting your monthly bill from $100+ per month down to under $30 and often times even lower.
There are quite a few special features that accompany VoIP phone services. For example, with most providers you will get free caller ID, free call waiting, free 3 way calling and free voicemail. Typically these come along with unlimited minutes and some even include the ability to make unlimited local and long distance calls to anywhere in the United States or Canada. International calls can often be made on a very reasonable per minute basis by purchasing prepaid credits from your VoIP Provider.
Being that VoIP is based on the Internet Protocol paired with TCP or transmission control protocol, your Internet phone is also capable of transferring images and video, along with text and voice.
How to Choose The Best Internet Phone Service Provider:
The abundance of features and your own personal needs make it very difficult to say who the best internet phone service provider for you is we recommend you do your own research to make a decision.
To end up with the best possible service for your needs you should follow the steps provided below:
- Make a list of all of your must-have features, anything you can’t live without.
- Research which companies do and do not have the features you need.
- Call and get price quotes from the companies that you have narrowed your choices to.
- Pay close attention to how the customer service acts when getting your quotes.
- Look over real customer reviews on the Internet before making a final decision.
How Do Internet Phone Calls Work?
When making Internet phones calls your voice is sent as mini data files over an the Internet and then heard on the telephone of the person you are speaking with, rather than through physical telephone lines. For the user there is no noticeable difference between VoIP and a traditional landline phone call.
*The process is of course much more complicated than this and if you aren’t interested in the technical aspects of how VoIP works please skip to the next section.
Technical Aspects Of How Internet Phone Calls Work
On a VoIP call when you speak your voice is recorded and it is then compressed in order to allow for smooth sending of the data files. It uses CODECs to compress audio, effectively reducing the amount of bandwidth that is used. After your voice is recorded the VoIP adapter or computer takes the data and compresses it into extremely small files. This data is then paired with other extremely small files of data and placed into what is known as data packets and send over the IP network. The entirety of this technical process is referred to as packetization and it is what allows VoIP providers to offer voice quality as good as or better than landline providers.
How Much Does Internet Phone Service Cost?
VoIP services differ in price depending on the service provider and whether you are a signing up for personal or business service. Generally, it is priced per month and can range anywhere from $0 – $200 a month. Most residential service providers are cheap (sometimes you can even make free calls) and are going to cost you around $10- $20 per month depending on the specific type of service you need. For businesses you can find plans for as cheap as $20 – $30 per month per phone line. Much like with any other phone service, you are usually able to add or remove services per your needs.