Residential VoIP technology varies little from those services offered to businesses. The premise is that your landline telephone calls can be transmitted in real-time through your computer’s IP (Internet Protocol). You use the phone just as you normally would, by picking up the phone to answer when it rings and by using that phone to make local, long distance, and international calls.
VoIP is touted by residential VoIP providers as the ultimate method to reduce personal phone costs, but the most dramatic impact on phone budgets is in the business sector. Residential VoIP phone service can be more cost effective with expanded usage. But, don’t let this cost limitation prevent you from utilizing this technology. You can use residential VoIP service as an Internet chat device, you can share photos or data with friends as you talk, and it won’t tie up your personal telephone line while you use it.
What You'll Need
Your choices in residential VoIP service include the capacity to talk from one to fifty individuals or more at a time. This ability to talk with many people can be a strong attraction for larger families. Additionally, VoIP phone service is a consideration for those who are online gamers, as it allows you to play video games and speak with other gamers in the process. If those are your requirements, then you might already have the broadband connection you need for the VoIP system to work. Just ask your residential VoIP provider.
It doesn’t matter whether you intend to plan a family reunion or become a game master. Low-cost VOiP devices offered by residential VoIP providers can include standalone boxes that provide VoIP functionality for your traditional phone service that works through a broadband modem (cable or DSL). These boxes serve as a bridge between your traditional phone system and the Internet.
The choices won’t be easy, as there are many residential VoIP service providers. They willl all try to compete for your business with features that will go beyond your basic phone service functions. Data bridging and routing, emerging voice and signaling security features, and other ancillary functions can be confusing if you’re not familiar with this technology.
Be sure to ask about contracts, the hidden costs with some additional equipment and services, and learn whether the VoIP vendor is reliable and qualified to install your system.
Features to Look For
Look for price reductions so that you can tap into the higher values and features that might have been out of reach previously. With VoIP phone service, you should also look for call waiting, voicemail, caller ID, and other services that might be included free. Check on area coverage, as some residential VoIP services are no better or worse than cell phones in this arena. Also ask to see alternative plans, and ask what it might cost to upgrade or to cancel the service.
Finally, just as with any business service, make sure your residential VoIP provider is reliable and that the service doesn’t charge (or overcharge) for support services.