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The Pros and Cons of VoIP Services

VoIP is a great option for just about everyone, with an attractive list of features and a price that’s hard to beat. That said, we wouldn’t be telling the truth if we claimed that VoIP isn’t without its own set of drawbacks. In this article, we’ll take a look at both the advantages and disadvantages of VoIP so you can make the best decision based on your own needs.

VoIP is a good low cost option

Pros – The Advantages of VoIP

Low Cost

Compared to traditional phone service (and in many cases wireless service), VoIP is far less expensive. The simplest explanation why is because of how the technology works. Since your voice signal is traveling over the Internet and not the traditional phone system, your VoIP provider saves a lot of money in “carriage fees,” which are basically fees to deliver your call over phone lines.

Also, VoIP providers typically have a wider variety of plans, including pay-as-you-go features so you only pay for service when you need it. For those who only need a landline phone occasionally, over time you’ll save quite a bit of money versus a traditional landline that requires a monthly fee to maintain service.

Portability

You can’t just pick up and move with a traditional phone system. A professional installer needs to come out and connect your home or business to the phone system, which can take several days. With VoIP, all you need is an Internet connection. Most VoIP phone setups are self-install, and you’ll be up and running in a matter of minutes. If you move, you can take your VoIP system with you and reconnect it easily, and you don’t have to change your phone number if you don’t want to.

Many VoIP providers also have options for you to access your VoIP phone system via the Internet, either on the web or via a mobile app.

advantages of VoIP with Ooma Telo

Lots of Features

Traditional telephone companies are well entrenched, so VoIP services have turned to functionality as a way to differentiate themselves and get you to subscribe. This is what makes VoIP service so feature-rich. Just the basic service from many VoIP companies provides you features like conferencing, call waiting, caller ID and call forwarding at no extra charge. With traditional phone service, you’ll often find yourself paying for these as an added service.

Traditional Phone and Fax Support

You don’t need all-new phone equipment to make the switch to VoIP. Providers like Ooma have devices that will convert the signals from your old telephone and fax machine to digital packets that can travel over the Internet. While we’d recommend you look into VoIP phones eventually, it’s not necessary to start out.

One word of caution, though, when using fax machines on VoIP: Be aware that you may need to adjust the settings of your fax machine to ensure reliable fax service. Printer/fax manufacturer HP has provided some tips on its support website.

Cons – The Disadvantages of VoIP

Bandwidth Dependency

As we’ve already mentioned, VoIP uses the Internet to complete your call. While most of us have an Internet connection that is sufficient to use VoIP these days, other factors may reduce the bandwidth available to your call, such as activity on your local network, like streaming or file transfers.

If your VoIP system doesn’t have sufficient bandwidth, you might find your call quality significantly reduced, or it may have trouble maintaining a connection or connecting to your VoIP provider’s servers. You may need to check your network speed during times of high use if you plan to use a VoIP service.

Emergency Calls

Emergency calling can be a problem for some VoIP users. The 911 system was built with the traditional telephone system in mind, and because a phone line is fixed to a certain location, the system will alert first responders to your location when you call (you don’t even need to tell them). While portability is definitely a plus with VoIP, calling 911 from a VoIP line will only transmit whatever address you provided at setup for 911 services.

If you forget to change this and find yourself in an emergency where you call but can’t speak to confirm, help may be sent to the wrong address, and/or you might be sent to the incorrect 911 facility for your area.

Needs Continuous Power Supply and Internet

VoIP phone systems require a continuous power supply in order to remain operational. That means if power is cut and you have no backup power, your phones will not work. This is different from the traditional telephone system, where power is only needed at the interchange office where calls are routed.

Conversely, if your Internet fails for some reason, your VoIP line will also fail regardless of whether you have power or not. In situations where a continuously operating telephone line is essential — home care services, for example — VoIP may not be the best option for you.

Voice and Call Quality

While most people will not have an issue with voice or call quality on VoIP, some may experience issues from time to time. The most common problems are reduced voice quality and/or what seems like a delay during the call (i.e. the person seems slightly delayed in responding). This has to do with both bandwidth and something called “latency.”

With bandwidth, if your VoIP system detects that there isn’t enough bandwidth to give you the best quality, it may reduce it so the call is still completed successfully. This can happen either before or during the call. At points, the call may even drop out if bandwidth gets too tight, or it may sound scrambled.

Latency can best be described as delay. If there is network congestion, it may take longer for your VoIP data packets to reach their destination. This might result in an issue where the person you’re calling may sound like he or she is taking slightly longer to respond to you. In most cases, however, these problems are temporary and may resolve on their own. Other times, it might require you to reboot either your cable/DSL modem and/or router.

Sources:

http://faq.programmerworld.net/voip/voip-advantages-disadvantages.htm
https://connectedlearning.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/209632013-Choosing-Telephone-Systems-Internet-VoIP-or-Traditional-
https://www.lifewire.com/voice-over-ip-drawbacks-3426729

Ooma Office Business Phone System

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Dennis Peng

Dennis is the vice president of product management and technical advisory board member of Ooma and is responsible for creating an intuitive, compelling user experience. Prior to joining Ooma, Dennis worked at Cisco Systems for 11 years where he began his career as a customer support engineer. He later joined the Escalation Team where he focused on fixing the most technically challenging problems, as well as supporting the design, rollout and operations of the largest remote access and broadband aggregation networks worldwide. He was honored with the title of Distinguished Support Engineer because of his expertise in networking protocols, isolating and fixing highly complex issues, and leadership among his peers. Dennis holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.

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