The Pros and Cons of VoIP

Moore's Law is working its magic

It's fair to say right off the top that the VoIP's pros outweigh its cons, especially in theory. In actual practice, there are some problems with VoIP that are not readily apparent but they are still outnumbered by the pros.

Pros

The advantages of VoIP really arise from the fact that it is new technology. In the same way that Internet information is superior to other sources of information (easier to update, faster to access, cheaper to produce) Internet telephony is superior to traditional phones. The advantages to VoIP begin and end with value: you get more for less.

You will pay less for your phone service and long distance.

You can even get deals within the VoIP market. For example, if you get a VoIP package of 500 minutes per month, it will often be priced in the range of $10 per month. Most plain old telephone services (POTS) charge much more for basic monthly service. Your savings with VoIP are significant.

On top of that, you pay a single rate for all calls, including long distance. If you use your VoIP to call England for 500 minutes a month, it will cost you nothing more than calling the city 50 miles away for the same minutes per month. Your traditional phone company charges a lot more for long distance, simply because you are using more phone line to make that call. However, when it comes to digital transmission, line use is not an issue.

You will get expanded services with VoIP , so there is value on that end as well. For example, call display is a given when it comes to VoIP.

Another feature of VoIP that makes it superior to traditional phone service is that you can use your cell or any other phone (to either send or receive calls) and still have the same service at the same price. This is called "global travel" by some VoIP users.

Cons

We said that in actual practice, VoIP has disadvantages that might not be apparent on the surface.

VoIP relies on conventional power sources . VoIP is susceptible to power outages, as it relies on standard electricity to power your modem. If you're in a wi-fi hotspot or an area where the power is secure, or if you don't rely on your phone service, this might not be an issue.

911 service can be unreliable , a knock against VoIP since its beginnings. The issue here is that your location may not be identifiable to 911 operators (Enhanced 911). You can enter your current address manually to participate in Enhanced 911, one of a number of solutions that the FCC and providers have offered to address this issue. For VoIP users of large networks (such as a corporate office building) this issue has some limited solutions.

VoIP in actual use can be technically challenging on a number of levels . Set-up is easy, claim the providers - but how many phone companies ask you to set up your own service? Once your service is in place (even if you pay for a VoIP subscription), you may run into service problems. This is where VoIP in practice is different from theory. In many cases, a provider's promise of clear calls or no dropped calls, etc., will be based on an assumption that your local telephone infrastructure is as stable as that of a large center, for example.

For all that, the value of VoIP far outweighs the problems. As with any new technology, there will soon be remedies for many of these problems.

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