The VoIP revolution and digital phones
Digital phones, working with “Voice Over Internet Protocol” (VoIP), have many advantages over regular phones and traditional phone companies. With digital phones you are actually routing your conversations over the Internet, the voice data being sent through a packet-switched network, even though it feels like you are talking through an ordinary phone.
Digital phones and VoIP services are receiving a lot of attention at present; it is at once a promising technology and an uncertain one.
Regular VoIP phone services are free or at low monthly costs in comparison to regular phone companies. Monthly charges can be as low as $19.95 and international calls can cost only pennies per minute. Because of these pros, digital phones are considered a threat to regular telephone companies and even cellular companies. IP phones, or digital phones, (assuming you don’t opt for the analog telephone adaptor) have many additional features beyond just VoIP service, such as caller ID, back up numbers, telemarketing blocks and silent recording.
At this point in time, however, the world is not quite ready to replace standard telephones with digital alternatives. There are a handful of disadvantages. Not every location worldwide is available or priced fairly, with every VoIP provider; even some local area codes may not be available. Since a broadband connection is electronically powered, a power outage could take out your telephone, unless a universal power supply or battery is available for backup. Dialing 911 has also been a problem for digital phones.
Because IP phones are not able to easily track network users, the emergency number is sometimes incapable of being dialed with the connection. Even though top VoIP companies have worked around this problem by implementing artificial 911 connections that eventually connect to local emergency personnel, the lack of a reliable 911 connection is still considered a major drawback. Recently the top digital phone company Vonage was fined by a court in Michigan over the 911 matter.
IP phones can be affordable, from $70.00 for a simple cordless handset, to over $1000.00 for a four-port gateway voice over IP communication system for businesses. More advanced models for personal or small business use, might cost $150.00 for added features.
A digital phone might be a serious consideration, particularly if you have an Internet connection, a lot of local phone company taxes, and hefty long distance charges. A digital phone combines all these fees into one low monthly cost; and it is a substantially lower amount than a traditional phone company charges.
If you are seriously considering the idea of a digital phone check locally for a provider; not all areas are equipped to handle this technology yet.
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