Lost in all the hype about VoIP carriers are the costs you don't often hear about. Sure, that flat rate and free long distance may sound like welcome additions, but what about the hardware required to make the whole thing run? Such costs tend to vary widely from carrier to carrier, so it's a good idea to check out all the data before you sign up with any particular one.
First things first. You will need broadband to use these services, meaning DSL, cable modem or LAN connection via Ethernet or wi-fi. If you don't already have a subscription to such a service, it is important to factor in that monthly charge as well. Granted this is multi-use bandwidth, meaning you could also use it for your computer, but many people like to add up all the numbers anyway when choosing whether or not to invest in VoIP.
Some of the carriers now bundle their hardware for free, while others rely primarily on a computer for the calls. Many, however, can charge over $150 for adapters and other equipment you will need to place and receive calls. What they may not tell you is that this hardware usually requires splitting your existing broadband, meaning you may need a router as well.
At VoIPReview.org, we believe you should enter this process with full understanding of what you're getting into. Our handy search and comparison tools let you sort by price, feature or practically anything else you're curious about. If you're in the market for cheap VoIP service and don't want to get nailed on unexpected costs, you can browse our thorough reviews first.