What is Residential VoIP?
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol, also called "digital phone service" or "Internet calling") allows callers to make and receive phone calls using the Internet.
The growth of high speed Internet has made VoIP technology available for cheap monthly rates for residential consumers. Most residential plans come extremely cheap, such as the home VoIP plans offered by Phone Power or ITP.
Most plans include unlimited local and long distance calling. On top of that, they usually include several advanced features like: caller ID, voicemail, 3-way calling, call waiting, and more. Many traditional phone services also offer these features, but they usually make you pay extra each month. Instead of using traditional phone lines, VoIP uses high speed internet, VoIP phones, and VoIP Adapters to work.
Before you go any further, we highly recommend you use our VoIP Speed tester to find out if your internet connection can work with a VoIP system.
Residential VoIP Buying Guide
There many residential/small office home office (soho) VoIP providers. Some are reputable, consistent, and cheap, such as Phone Power. Other providers aren't as good, but can seem so because of large advertising budgets and deceptive marketing. Some times, it seems impossible to make the best decision. How do you know that you're getting what you're paying for? Is there another provider that offers better service for less? We encourage you to perform thorough research before deciding on a provider. Below are a few tips to help you make your decisions.
- Know what features you need: Do you like three-way calling? Do you need voicemail? Knowing what features you need will help you count out the providers that don't have what you want. On each provider's page, we have a list of the most important features each provider offers.
- Visit the provider's web site and research their plans and services to see which plan fits your needs. Sometimes provider's offer unpublicized special deals.
- Find out what the provider includes (or doesn't include) in their quoted price: taxes, 911 service charges, and/or regulatory charges all can move your final bill higher than you want it to be.
- Find out if the provider will give you the necessary VoIP equipment.
What can a VoIP phone do that a land line phone cannot?
A VoIP or broadband phone service can help you save up to 90% of your monthly phone bill. VoIP providers like ITP and Phone Power, offer many features which are covered in the monthly fee, such as voicemail, caller ID, three-way calling, and call waiting. Many providers offer unlimited long distance with their plans, which saves customers the trouble of having to purchase long-distance phone cards. Furthermore, most providers offer unlimited calling to other subscribers with the same service. You can talk to those users for as long as you want to at no additional cost, regardless of the type of plan you purchase. VoIP service, (also known as Internet phone service) is best suited for you if you can relate to any of the following statements:
- "I have a high speed internet connection and want to lower my phone bills with broadband phoning."
- "I make expensive long-distance or international calls and I want to reduce the costs."
- "I run a small business and my phone bill makes up a significant part of my overhead."
- "I like the convenience of taking my number with me wherever I travel."
- "I like features such as conference calling, the ability to choose any area code, voice mail, caller ID, call waiting, and more."
- "I'm frustrated by excessive taxes and long-distance phone company monopolies."
- "I live outside the U.S. but I need a local NYC number for my business."