VOIP: A Basic, Basic Intro

What is it?

Most people are familiar w/ NetMeeting and other software that let you talk to others over the internet. VOIP is similar. However, it also uses your phone - the interface we're all familiar with.

Instead of connecting your phone to the wall, you connect it to a box either the VOIP company provides or you buy on your own. This is the modem. You need highspeed/broadband internet for this. Your modem plugs into your cable/dsl modem and now it can 'talk' btwn your phone and the internet.

Your phone lines already do pretty much what VOIP does, just w/ different/older technology (well, some of it's new w/ optics and such, but...).

How hard is it to setup?

It's actually very easy. Assuming you have the company send you a modem or you buy a kit at the store, you simply plug the modem btwn your current cable/dsl modem and your computer (e.g., the out from your cable modem now goes to the new box and the out from that to your computer). It also has a phone jack for your regular phone.

Once it is on, it will boot up and configure itself.

What are the benefits?

There are many benefits depending on the company you go w/, but here are a few I have (all of these are free w/ the monthly fee- $14.99 for my setup):

1. Features like caller id, call waiting, call waiting caller id, call forwarding, etc.

2. Voicemail

3. Email alerts for new voicemail.

4. Web access to voicemail - you can play your messages on your computer.

5. Auto-forward - if the phone is ever down or isn't answered, it's auto-routed to another number

6. Online management of all features, settings, account, etc.

7. Computer dialing - highlight any number on your computer, hit F6 and it sets up the call from your phone to theirs - very convinient!

8. Keep your regular phone (you don't need a voip phone)

There are some other cool features available for extra $ like the softphone which lets you use your computer as a phone w/o the modem - this means you can take your laptop w/ you wherever and you have your phone w/ the same phone number everywhere too (you can do this w/o the softphone, but you have to take your VOIP modem around w/ you - not bad if you're going somewhere for a longer trip).

Another really cool thing is the virtual phone numbers. You can get extra numbers that ring the same phone, but they are local numbers to any area code you want. So if I live in Dallas and have family in New York, I can get a local phone number here and there. That way my family in New York can call a local number (free) and talk to me! Vonage charges $4.99/month for that. I'm not sure about the others.

And the biggest benefit - IT'S CHEAP! I pay $14.99 plus some tax and such, but not the ump-teen taxes, charges, fees, etc. like the phone company charges.

Also, if you do a little research/reading, you can set it up to where every phone jack in your house is wired for VOIP. It's little more than plugging the output of your VOIP modem into the wall jack you already have. Very little more.

Bottom Line

You get lots of good, free features and options for doing/managing a lot more including a lot over the web and it's SO much cheaper (at least it is for me!). Being the 'average guy' I am, I don't really use all the features. Fortunately, it's pretty much a 'set it up and forget about it' type thing except that I save $40+/month w/ it!

I use Vonage b/c that's what I was told about first and it was one of the first. There are others and I'm sure they have their strengths, but Vonage has the cheapest base option at the time I did my research.

Bear Cahill is a software engineer in the Dallas, TX area and runs a few websites: The Armchair Geek (thearmchairgeek.com), Webpage Hosting Info (webpagehostinginfo.com), Go To College Online (gotocollegeonline.com) and The Video Exchange Community (videoexchange.org)

Publish freely if this resource box is included and links maintained as links.

In The News:

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bOnline VoIP review  TechRadarAn affordable and easy to configure VoIP solution that can convert any computer into a phone system with the minimum of hardware and expertise.
Why VoIP has become such a major player for businesses  ITProPortalVoIP does more than increase savings by lowering costs though. Here's why so many businesses are ditching their analogue lines in favour of VoIP.
False beliefs about the VOIP  Thrive GlobalThe VoIP (or Voice over IP) is a tool that has spread much in the business sector . However, not everyone knows it in depth. Or, in any case, he believes he has ...
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VoIP Brings New Features and Changes to Campus Calling  University of Arkansas NewswireThe Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) project reached a significant milestone last week when 827 campus phone numbers were transferred from AT&T to the ...
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Global Explosion-Proof VoIP Portable Phones Market 2019: Technological Advancement Analysis & Innovation Forecast 2024  Pioneer ReporterIn-depth delineation of Global Explosion-Proof VoIP Portable Phones Market alongside explanations of value chain, vendor landscape, production outlook, ...
1 Year, 50 Sites: Lessons Learned in Cloud VoIP Project  No JitterSecond in a multipart series: The good, bad, and ugly… expect to see it all in a cloud migration.
When to Use a VPN to Carry VoIP Traffic  PCMag.comIT professionals might decide to route their Voice-over-IP (VoIP) traffic across a virtual private network (VPN) for several reasons. And while it makes sense in ...
Business Landline To VoIP, Why Change?  Irish Tech NewsLet's take a look at why business landlines are becoming obsolete against the largest rival VoIP and what is it that is making businesses decide to change.
Votacall Recognized on CRN's 2019 Solution Provider 500 List  Telecom ResellerBOSTON — July 17, 2019 — CRN, a brand of The Channel Company, has named cloud voice solution provider, Votacall to its 2019 Solution Provider 500 list.
Did You Know Voip Could Be The Key To Your Business Success?  CEOWORLD magazineThere are various ways in which VoIP in Canada can help you scale up your business to the level you want it to be. Here are the reasons why it can create ...

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