What is VoIP?
VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol and is a technical way of saying “using the internet for making telephone calls.”
Why would you change your perfectly good telephone at home or in the office? The main benefit of VoIP is very simple and non-technical to understand - it is cheaper than regular phone service and has more features you probably currently know or use.
Disadvantages of Pure VoIP Services
Most of these services (like Skype) suffer from two very serious disadvantages:
· They only work if your computer is switched on and the program running
· They only work if the other person is also at their computer and has the same program loaded and running
They typically have a third disadvantage as well - sound quality can be uneven and phone calls often have a lot of delay and perhaps a lot of echo. It is very hard to have a naturally flowing conversation when there is a big delay between when you speak and the other person hears you.
Hardware or Software Based VoIP
Messenger, NetMeeting, and most other computer talk/conferencing programs are software based.
Quality is improved when a separate standalone voice processing box is used. This gives more reliable and better quality performance, and does not interfere with the rest of your computer's operation.
Packet8 - a VoIP Hybrid [OUR RECOMMENDED BROADBAND PHONE PROVIDER]
Packet8 (and in similar style, Vonage) offers a wonderful solution to the traditional VoIP disadvantages. It takes the normal VoIP concept, enhances it by using the Digital Telephone Adapter (DTA, a box to plug regular phones into your router), and then, best of all, gives your phone a regular phone number that anyone can dial to, and provides a 'gateway' between the computer phones and all normal phones, everywhere in the world.
This makes your Packet8 VoIP phone functionally identical to all normal telephones, and it means that you can call any ordinary telephone user, who can in turn also call you. You are no longer restricted to only calling people at their computers, and you are no longer handicapped by poor quality conversations.
Ease of Installation
Once you receive the DTA device from Packet8, it is very simple to install. Just plug it in to your home router that supports DHCP (automatically assigns an IP address), most home routers do this. After this is completed you will get a dial tone. Then call the activation number… that is it.
Making and Receiving Calls
Making a call is exactly the same as with any other phone. Pick up the handset. Dial the number - (including a 1 and then area code).
Receiving calls is also identical. The phone will ring same as a normal phone. You can even connect a caller ID unit to the phone and it will show the number of the person calling you. Pick up the phone and start talking.
The service even offers you call waiting, call forwarding, voicemail, E911, local number porting, and many other services for free which most telephone companies charge extra.
Voicemail messages can be retrieved from your phone or any phone by calling an 888 number. They can even be emailed to you!
Packet8 has multiple plans available but the most popular plan is the “Freedom Unlimited” which offers unlimited calling in the US and Canada, voicemail, caller id, three-way calling, local number of your choice, and many more features for only $19.95/month. Vonage’s comparable unlimited plan runs around $25/month.
For consumers who live outside the U.S., the Freedom International plan allows you to have a U.S. phone number and make up 1000 minutes of calling to U.S. and Canadian phone numbers for just $19.95 (US) per month.
Residential subscribers who want to add pictures to their words, they can subscribe to the Freedom Unlimited VideoPhone plan. Using Packet8 VideoPhones and video and voice over Internet protocol technology, allows consumers unlimited time to see and hear loved ones worldwide for a mere $19.95 (US) per month.
In addition Packet8 offers the Freedom Unlimited Global residential and business plans featuring unlimited calling for US/Canada, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East..... for $49.95/month.
Key advantages to this new technology
The key thing about VoIP service (with both Vonage and Packet 8) is that your phone number no longer has any direct relationship to where in the world you are located. You can have your phone working anywhere in the world where there is a broadband internet connection, and you can choose any area code you like. For example, a military family living in Germany could have a Chicago phone number and could make and receive calls to and from the US for only $20/month. Plus their friends and family could call them from Chicago as a local number and it would ring in Germany saving them money as well.
Packet8 users call themselves on regular land line phones, call people in rural US small towns, and call friends overseas without anyone knowing that they are not using a “traditional landline.” It is recommended to have a DSL, Cable, or other High-Speed internet connection even though Packet8 only requires 64kbps of bandwidth.
This is a very exciting new technological product that is simple to use and you do not have to be an IT expert to make it work.
You can now lower your phone service costs while utilizing your 'broadband' internet connection (i.e. cable or DSL internet connection). What is the catch? As far as I can tell, there is none!