Q: What is VoIP?
A: VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. VoIP phone service, which is sometimes referred to as broadband or digital phone service, is a phone service that operates by using your high-speed Internet connection. There are 2 types of VoIP services: phone-based and computer-based. These allow you to make phone calls using either your regular phone, an app on a mobile device, or a softphone client on a computer. What sets VoIP apart from traditional landlines is VoIP uses your phone or computer to call via the Internet. The call is then converted to data packets and sent over the Internet, as opposed to copper wires that make up a standard PSTN network.
Q: How does someone place or receive a VoIP phone call?
A: With a phone-based service, you use VoIP the same way you would use a regular landline. You pick up the phone to answer it, or dial a number to place a call. On a mobile device, you can use a VoIP-enabled app to connect. Providers typically have their own mobile apps for ease of convenience. With a computer-based service, you can use a softphone to make or answer the calls with a headset and microphone.
Q: Can I call any phone with VoIP?
A: Most providers allow you to call any phone in the world, whether that number is a local, long-distance, or mobile number. However, some computer-based providers might limit you to only other subscribers on that service. VoIP also allows you to talk to multiple users at once. You probably know this as “Conference Calling ” or “Three-way Calling.”
Q: How is the voice clarity with VoIP?
A: The quality of VoIP voice has dramatically improved in recent years. Currently, VoIP calls have a quality that is at or above the quality of a standard landline phone. However, it’s important to note that voice clarity can differ from provider to provider, and typically depends on the speed and quality of your broadband connection.
Q: Do I need a computer to call with VoIP?
A: No, you don’t need a computer for phone-based VoIP services. However, you do need an existing broadband Internet connection. An ATA (sometimes provided free of charge through your VoIP provider) can connect your existing phone to your high-speed internet connection.
Q: Are there differences between making a local VoIP call and a long-distance VoIP call?
A: In terms of technology and how you dial the number, no. There is no difference. Call charges, however, can vary from plan to plan just as it would with your standard phone service, though many VoIP providers offer unlimited long-distance plans.
Q: What can a VoIP phone do that a landline cannot?
A: A VoIP or broadband phone service can help you save up to 90% on your monthly phone bill. VoIP providers usually offer many features which are covered in the monthly fee, things like voicemail, caller ID, conference calling, and call waiting. Providers typically offer unlimited long-distance plans, which save customers the trouble of having to purchase long-distance phone cards.
VoIP service is the best option for you if you can relate with any of the following comments:
“I have a high-speed internet connection and want to lower my phone bills.”
“I make expensive long-distance calls and would like to reduce those costs.”
“I run a business and phone bills are a significant part of my overhead.”
“I live outside the U.S. but I need a local NYC number for my business.”
Q: Can I keep my number if I switch to VoIP for my business?
A: Most providers allow number portability, so you can use the same number you had with your traditional phone provider. This is really important since that’s most likely the number associated with your business. Also, you should be aware that number portability is usually not instant, and may take up to 10 days. But, it sure beats buying all new business cards, right? Plus, if you ever change the location of your business, like move it to NYC from Columbus, you can take your number with you.
Q: How secure are VoIP calls?
A: Documented instances of VoIP security breaches have been few and far between. There is also encryption for VoIP subscriber units, which has laid to rest many VoIP security questions.
Ready to switch your business to VoIP? Let’s get started.