Landlines are rapidly declining. In fact, more than 50% of American households are cellphone only. Cell phones are getting cheaper, landlines are increasing their costs. Cell phones go with you everywhere, so you are never out of touch.
If you still want a landline but you are tired of paying high prices, check out a new and rapidly improving technology that replaces your landline.
Voice over Internet Protocol
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) uses broadband internet to make phone calls. You can call from a computer, a dedicated VoIP phone or a traditional phone with an adapter. Depending on your service, you may be able to call only people using the same service or anyone who has a phone number – local, long distance, mobile, or international.
VoIP is rapidly increasing in popularity for businesses because it is generally less expensive. It is also portable, allows you to make video calls, and is flexible.
VoIP In the Home
Home based VoIP is becoming more and more common. Your internet service provider may have it bundled into an internet package or you may be able to purchase an add-on phone line. Depending on your provider, you may not pay taxes and regulatory fees. Since that varies widely, do research on exactly what you are getting and paying for and compare it to your landline expenses.
If you use Skype, you are already using a version of VoIP.
What Do I Need for VoIP?
The first requirement for VoIP is high speed internet. You don’t want to use wi-fi for VoIP. If you want to be able to make one call at a time, the minimum bandwidth requirement is 1000 Kbsp Up and Down. If this means nothing to you, most VoIP providers will run a free speed test and tell you if your internet can handle VoIP.
You will need a router and a modem which generally come with your internet. If you plan to use an existing phone, you need an analog telephone adapter (ATA). Your VoIP may provide one free of charge. The other option is to purchase an IP phone.
At present, there are some limitations with VoIP. If you do not have high speed internet, this service won’t work. As with cell phones, power outages may affect VoIP services. You may not connect directly to 911, although as use increases, this technology should improve. You may not have directory assistance.
What to Ask
Here are some questions to ask when looking into VoIP.
- What does it cost to set up service?
- What are reoccurring costs – fees, taxes, overages fees, etc?
- Is there a contract? For how long?
- Is use really unlimited?
- What are international calling rates?
- How long has the company been around?
- What are user reviews like?
- What customer support services are offered and when?
- Is the line encrypted or how can you prevent hackers from accessing your system?
- How reliable is the system? How many outages in the previous 6 months?
- What is the call quality?
- What recommendations are there for hardware compatibility?
- Can I keep my phone number?
- Is E911 supported?
- What features are included and what do I can for (for instance, ability to fax documents)?
- Who sets up special features?
- Can I use my existing phone?
- Can I take my phone on the road or roll calls to my cell phone?
Should I Change?
If you meet the internet speed requirement, don’t live where there are frequent power outages, and you save money by switching from your landline, absolutely! Landlines are rapidly becoming dinosaurs. Your first step is, as always, research. Start your search here and discover if VoIP is right for you.