VoIP Buyer's Guide | Compare VoIP Providers
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, and it's the technology that allows users makes phone calls over the Internet.
VoIP is the cutting edge phone technology that more than a quarter of Americans are using today, according to a recent report by PEW. Millions of people have already switched to save big on their home and business phone bills. Switching to VoIP for the home or the office is fast and easy, and with the resources available here, you can start saving big too.
Business Service Benefits
No business owner should ever pay too much for phone service again. Switching to VoIP cuts the monthly phone bill in half, if not more. With a hosted business VoIP service, business owners can Read More
- Unlimited calling everywhere in the US and Canada.
- Free or cheap international calls, as low as $0.01/min.
- Add extensions fast; plug & play to any Ethernet port.
- Excellent business phone features.
Why wait? The sooner you switch, the sooner you can take advantage of awesome features at low costs.
VoIP isn't just for business owners anymore. Residential customers can have the features at home and save money, just like many business owners do at the office. Read More
- Many free features like forwarding and call screening.
- Extremely low rates for one or two lines in a home.
- Easy to get IP phones, or adapt old phones.
- Free calls to other customers on the same provider.
Be "in the know": switch today and save a ton on your home phone bill.
How Does It Work?
VoIP utilizes your home or office Internet connection to provide you with a regular land line phone service. It differs from the standard telephone system that you are probably familiar with to in the different technologies that each uses to make phone calls.
The “plain old telephone service” (or POTS) uses telephone lines to transmit phone calls. You may also hear POTS referred to as the “PSTN” (public switched telephone network), or as “traditional” or “standard” telephone service.
Originally, a call sent with POTS was sent as analog data. Analog data is sent electronically through copper wires. Today, this technology is somewhat outdated, and most telephone operators use high bandwidth cables to transmit calls as digital data, binary patterns of ones and zeros. However, POTS calls still need physical circuits for connection.
This is similar, but not identical, to how VoIP service providers process phone calls. With a VoIP service, your call is also sent as digital data, but you don’t necessarily need any cables to send the call. You can use any kind of Internet connection (satellite, cable, Wireless, dsl, etc.) to make calls.
POTS is still pretty heavily dependent on the same old infrastructure that they have used for generations. The system has evolved and changed over the years, but much of the network has remained unchanged for many years. This reliance on the old infrastructure adds lots of cost to POTS telephony because service providers have to factor in the cost of upkeep for a large and aging system.
VoIP calls, on the other hand, can be transmitted to any IP location anywhere in the world entirely through an Internet connection.
How many lines can your internet connection support? Test your connection by using our Speed Tester.
A good Internet connection is one of the most important contributing factors to call quality. So check your connection. It's free!
What is VoIP, again?
Using Voice over IP (VoIP), any computer or telephone connected to the internet with a broadband connection can call another computer or phone at a fraction of usual cost — or absolutely free! VoIP providers charge a lot less than traditional landlines, because they don't have to maintain an old and expensive network. Instead, they connect callers via the Internet and create innovative feature sets.
Here's a secret, too - your old phone service probably had you using VoIP. They just weren't telling you.
Cheap VoIP Calling
For starters, VoIP calling is free between two subscribers of the same VoIP service. So, if you can convince any relatives or friends to get the same VoIP service that you use, you will be able to call them for free any time regardless of their geographical location.
It costs next to nothing to send a VoIP call anywhere within the continental US, so most providers also offer unlimited calling within the US and Canada when you sign up for a basic package. The only reason these calls aren’t free is because you will be calling landlines or mobile phones that are hosted by different service providers, and may not be VoIP numbers.
Compare this to calling with a POTS company where you have to pay for every type of calling: local, local toll, in-state long distance, out-of-state long distance, and international, each with their own rates and per minute charges. And you may not always be aware of what kind of call your call is before you dial, which could lead to some surprise charges when you get your bill.
VoIP service providers can also offer very low rates on international calls as well. As a result, most providers will give you some special international calling deals. For some providers, like VOIPo, this might be an hour of free international calling. With other VoIP providers, like BroadVoice, you may be able to get unlimited calling to a certain selection of countries.
Compare this to calling with a POTS company. International calling is very expensive with most standard telephone companies, and if you need to do a lot of regular calling to other countries, you could end up spending a lot of money every month.
For example, with AT&T, you could choose to get the AT&T World Connect plan (in addition to your regular plan) for an extra charge of $3.99/month. However, you still have to pay for your international calls by the minute: they just cost a little less than they would without the AT&T World Connect plan.
With the AT&T World Connect plan, a call from the US to China costs $0.15/minute, plus your $3.99/month charge, plus the monthly cost of regular service. Without the plan, a call to China costs $3.49/minute, plus the monthly cost of your regular service (starting around $62 for a small business).
With Jive, a popular business VoIP solution, a call to China would only cost $0.03/minute, plus the cost of regular monthly service (starting at around $20/month for a small business).
What is a VoIP phone?
A VoIP phone uses high-speed internet to make telephone calls for a fraction of the old price — or free! VoIP phones (also known as broadband phones or IP phones) allow you to access the most up-to-date technology. Conference in multiple clients or family members, or transfer calls between offices around the globe. All you need is a VoIP phone, a VoIP service provider, and the Internet.
How do you get VoIP service?
The 5 Steps to Switch are Simple:
- Evaluate your current phone situation. Are you unhappy with how much you are paying for telephone service with a POTS company?
- Evaluate your Internet setup. Your Internet connection needs to meet a certain bandwidth minimum in order to give you the best service. For example, while VoIP technology will technically work with dial-up Internet, you won’t really be able to get good quality service with a dial-up connection because dial-up doesn’t provide you with a high speed connection. If you want to get VoIP, you may first have to find a better high speed Internet service.
- Read up on different providers. VoIP Review is a great place to start if you are trying to choose a provider. We can help you find a business or residential VoIP service. You can also read VoIP reviews from actual customers. We highly recommend you look into customer reviews before choosing a service. And if you are looking for a business service, check out our quote tool at the top of the page.
- After you’ve found a service provider you like, find out how much equipment you will need to buy. Some service providers will give you adapters or IP phones with your service, some will allow you to rent equipment, and some don’t include equipment at all. Calculate the cost of switching over your home or office phone system to an IP system before you commit to a VoIP system.
- Implement your VoIP solution. Depending on your comfort level with computers, this should be relatively easy. There’s not much to it. You will just need to buy a monthly or yearly plan with a service provider, download the system, and plug in your new phones or adapters.