VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), refers to a way to carry phone calls over an IP data network, or in more common terms, it is a phone service over the Internet. If you have a reasonable quality Internet connection, you can get phone service delivered through your Internet connection instead of from your local phone company.
Why choose VoIP?
There are many benefits to having a VoIP system installed in your household or business. To name only a few:
- Cheaper Call Rates – VoIP’s main purpose is providing a cheaper, yet extensive method of communication. The use of regular phone calls may become costly if used too frequently, however with VoIP you would only need to pay for a good Internet connection and subscription to a VoIP service. Calls may be charged for as little as R0.15 per minute, as opposed to your normal Telkom rates.
- Reduced Wiring Costs – VoIP has a reduced wire infrastructure which can minimize wiring costs in new or renovated buildings.It has also made it possible to rely on less cabling costs in terms of the initial installment and maintenance. In comparison with data networking, telephone connections and cable distribution.
- Easy Relocation – I’m sure if you have ever relocated your business or home you have had difficulty with switching local phone numbers. The Internet is a universal medium and since VoIP is online based, it can be easily relocated without central administrative support.
- Roaming Facility – In order to use your regular phone you need access to your regular phone line. It is not possible for you to make a phone call using your local phone line if you are somewhere else using someone else’s phone. This is yet another problem a VoIP line has solved, it allows you the option of taking your phone anywhere with Internet access. This means you can use it as if it were from the comfort of your own home.
However, VoIP also has its drawbacks.
The pros far outweigh the cons when making the decision of installing a VoIP system, regardless I always find it best to give a full disclosure when promoting, or better yet, explaining a new means in technology:
- Bandwidth Dependency – VoIP may also be referred to as Internet Telephony. When you think Internet, you think bandwidth – your broadband connection. Whilst VoIP may work over a dial-up connection, the connection is simply too slow. Hence for optimal usage you are in need of a broadband connection.
- Connection Down – VoIP can only function with a broadband connection, so if the connection is down, in extension so is your VoIP line. To put it plainly, no Internet means no phone.
- Shared Connection – For a corporate VoIP line you are sure to be using a high-speed broadband connection, which will most likely be used for other data and communication needs as well such as; downloads, chat, email, server connectivity etc. This will affect your VoIP line quality at peak times, which may be damaging for your company. The best solution would be to minimize or limit the usage when the line is needed most.
- Power Dependency – Unlike PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) phones, your VoIP line needs power at all times to function. Simply put, no power equals no phone line.
So which would you choose VoIP or a regular phone line?
As technology is an endless sea of evolution, ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) are finding new ways to minimize these issues on a daily basis by offering better Internet connections. They are also finding new ways to offer VoIP services which need less resources to function. These lines have begun to take the world by storm and before long we will not know of any other means of telephone communication.