VoIP, or voice over internet protocol, is rapidly gaining in popularity and soon may pick up enough steam to be a strong rival to regular phone service providers.
Though in theory and in use, both the public switched telephone network and VoIP are strikingly similar, how the end result is actually achieved and the features available with each couldn't be more different than they are.
For you to make an educated decision on which type of phone service may be the most appropriate for your situation, let's go over some of the biggest differences between the two.
VoIP generally has a big advantage in the area of price. Most VoIP services offer unlimited calling to both local and long distance numbers for one, often pretty low, flat fee. In many cases with VoIP, you get more than just the calling plan too - additional features like caller ID and call waiting often come free with a VoIP service plan.
PSTN (public switched telephone network)) often charges a monthly fee that is greater than what VoIP providers charge, then you are usually billed in addition for your long distance calls with either another flat rate or with a per minute charge. Extra features like caller ID and call waiting are available but will often cost you more as well.
This point goes to the regular phone service providers. In the event of a power outage, which can happen with some regularity depending upon where you live, a hardwired phone line will remain unaffected in most cases.
With VoIP service, unless you've got a back up generator, your phone service will be out when your power is out. This could potentially be a big problem if you've got an emergency along with your power outage.
Ease of Upgrading
Virtually all VoIP upgrades require only a simple download of the latest software to be completed - a few clicks of your mouse and your upgrades are finished.
Any kind of regular telephone service upgrade could potentially require you to shell out quite a bit of money on some form of new equipment and may, in addition, require a lengthy visit from a service tech that happens to be paid by the hour.
If a 911 emergency call is placed from a regular, land phone line the address can be traced, and therefore located by police or other emergency personnel.
A 911 call placed through a VoIP service provider has no way of being traced, so unless enough of the phone call can be completed to identify the caller's location, help may not be able to be dispatched.
Both methods of connecting with others certainly have their advantages and both most definitely have their disadvantages. If money is the foremost issue at hand, VoIP service is probably a better option, as it can allow you to make all the calls you want or need and gives you a slew of useful features all for one low price.
If stability and security are more important to you, and cost isn't an inherent worry, then you may see fit to stick with your current phone service provider.
As technology improves and further advancements are made with VoIP service, it's likely that the issues that currently stand will be addressed and taken care of. Ways to make calls during power outages and special amendments that allow the traceability of calls placed to emergency numbers may surface in the not too distant future.
As things stand right now, VoIP is already becoming a serious force for regular phone service providers to contend with and as new advancements are made it will only become easier for the average person to justify making the switch from their current phone service over to VoIP.
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