This Is VoIP

Your telecommunication experience can be significantly enhanced with the help of VoIP. Voice over Internet Protocol, or Internet telephony, is gradually becoming an alternative to the good old PSTN system. With VoIP, your voice is encoded into data packets that are transmitted over the Internet, the receiver being either a computer, a VoIP phone, or a standard telephone with a VoIP adapter.

One of the main features that account for the popularity gained by VoIP is the low cost of calling. Firstly, sending information over the Internet is cheaper than over telephone lines; secondly, there are currently no taxation regulations applying to VoIP; thirdly, many telephone services that normally come for an extra fee with standard telephony are offered for free in the VoIP package. Such features as voicemail, call handling facilities (call forwarding and transfer, call block, call waiting, etc.) are quite attractive, and when you add to them a service plan that allows unlimited calling, it is not hard to understand why VoIP is so irresistible.

VoIP gives subscribers even more freedom by allowing them to choose a phone number that they prefer. They can keep their old phone number, thus staying easily reachable. Another attractive option is that of selecting a different area code, which makes it possible for other people to cut costs when calling them. If your friends or family live in another area, simply select the same code they have, and they will be able to call you for local charges.

There is one major problem connected with VoIP: the incompatibility between this technology and the 911 system. In case of an emergency, it is often of crucial importance that the operator should be able to trace the call and pinpoint the callerís location. The tracing system works with landline telephones, but not with the Internet. Consequently, it does not support VoIP. This is why some VoIP providers will not offer 911 calling at all. Others use the Enhanced 911 service, which is still not really compatible with VoIP, since it was designed for cellular telephony. In compliance with a FCC regulation, VoIP providers will ask their subscribers to sign a statement regarding their awareness of 911 service limitations. Those that do offer some 911 support will ask you to register your information with 911 as soon as your VoIP connection is active (but this only solves the problem as long as you donít use your phone in another location than the registered one). Many people prefer to keep a landline telephone available only for 911 calling, or to carry a cellular phone with them for the same purpose.

It is not only residential users that are attracted by the VoIP services. More and more businesses are impressed with the streamlining capabilities of Internet telephony. VoIP reduces costs, integrates many different services, and makes it possible for employees to easily stay in touch with the main office. Mobile employees no longer need to use costly cell phones (just think of the attractive option of not having any roaming charges). VoIP phones can be taken anywhere and plugged into any high-speed Internet connection available. Employees will stay reachable at the same number Ė an especially attractive choice for sales agents, for instance.

VoIP allows seamless integration of audio, video, and web-based utilities in one application. Everything happens on the Internet, so itís all about data packets.

Furthermore, expanding an existing network, for instance by installing a new telephone line, can be quite costly and not very simple in the case of PSTN. VoIP simplifies the process, making infrastructure changes a lot simpler to implement.

Outsourcing is very much facilitated by the use of VoIP. Since area codes no longer depend on the userís actual location and continuous communication can be maintained between employees and the main office, it does not matter where they are located. This enables businesses to reduce costs by hiring people from countries with lower labour costs. The method is extensively used by call centres, who can now easily offer 24-hour service by employing people from different time zones. Furthermore, it is much more attractive for customers to call if there are phone numbers available with the same area code as theirs.

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