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• If you are using a computer (software) based VoIP service you can usually still use your computer while talking.


• There are several different types of VoIP services. Some require a computer or VoIP (WiFi) phone others allow you to use a traditional phone connected to a VoIP adapter.


• Some companies require service contracts that are similar to a cell phone contract.


• Many VoIP companies offer minute rate plans similar to cell phone bills and provide features that would cost extra if you used a traditional phone company. These features include call waiting, caller ID, etc.


• For a flat monthly fee, many VoIP companies offer unlimited calling to the U.S., Canada and other selected countries.


• Many VoIP companies offer free service but usually only to other people using the same service.


• Some VoIP companies only allow you to call people using the same service but other companies allow you to call anyone who has a telephone.


• If both calling parties are making computer to computer calls, VoIP is usually included in the service package. Some countries may charge a fee if you make a VoIP call to a land line or cellular/mobile phone.


• Some VoIP companies allow you to select a different area code than the one you live in. This may allow you to choose a phone number in many countries.


Choosing a phone number in another area/country, allows you to travel anywhere and still receive or make calls, like you are actually in the area/country you are calling.



Here is an example of what this means. If you have chosen a Miami, Florida phone number and are in Europe, your Miami, Florida phone number will ring in Europe if someone calls you. If you call Miami, Florida from Europe, your call will be treated like a local phone call. You must have an internet connection in order for this to work.



• Some VoIP companies have great international rates but this depends on how many companies are involved in transporting your call to its destination.


• Some Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Latin countries may have restrictions or extra taxes on VoIP calls.
• You may encounter some difficulties or problems when using a VoIP company or service. Reliability can be a problem because VoIP calls depend on the quality of your internet connection, your Internet Provider (ISP), your computer and a constant electric supply at your location.


Depending on the VoIP company or service you choose, faxes, directory assistance and 9-1-1 emergency calls may be difficult. Check with the VoIP company you are thinking of choosing to see how they handle these situations.


• Some VoIP companies require you to register your VoIP lines physical address in order to route your emergency/9-1-1 call to the proper local services. A deadline has been set by the U.S. government requiring VoIP companies use 9-1-1 but some VoIP companies are fighting the deadline.


WiFi or "dual mode" phones are just beginning to become available. These phones will be both a cellular and VoIP phone. The VoIP would only work if you are in an area that has free or community access to the internet. These areas are some times called "hot spots" and are becoming much more common.


• Before you choose a VoIP company, ask about any limitations or advantages to their service.


• Since internet technology is changing very quickly, the future of VoIP based telephone service is very bright. This should translate into easier access, more options and greater savings for the consumer.



Types Of VoIP Services


There are three (3) types of VoIP services that are commonly used today. Only you can decide which service best suits your needs.


ATA (analog telephone adapter) allows you to connect a standard phone to your computer or internet connection by plugging your telephone wire into the ATA adapter. This type of services may require you to load software onto your computer but does not require you to always leave you computer on. Generally, adding the required software to your computer is very simple. ATA adapters can be taken and used anywhere as long as you can connect to the internet. Providers include Vonage, Verizon, AT&T, etc.


IP or WiFi phones are special phones that connect directly to your router. This allows people to make VoIP calls from WiFi "hot spots" or areas that have "community" internet access. This type of phone allows great freedom and mobility. More and more areas are beginning to offer "community" internet access but you may want to find out if the areas you plan on regularly making calls from are "hot spots". Check the service provider in your area to see if they offer an IP or WiFi phone.
Computer to Computer is the simplest way to use VoIP. To use this type of VoIP service you must have speakers, a microphone, a sound card, software, a high speed internet connection (DSL, cable, etc.) and both parties must have a computer.


In many cases you pay nothing or very little to make long distance calls. If both parties subscribe to the same service they usually have free computer (PC) to computer (PC) calls worldwide. PC to PC also allows you to make video calls so have your camera ready!!!


If you use a software based VoIP company either the person making the call or receiving the call must be at their computer. Laptop computers allow you the mobility to take full advantage of this type of service by giving you freedom to make and receive calls from multiple locations.


PC to PC VoIP companies allow you to assign a phone number to your computer so you can make and receive calls when you are on your computer.


Cheap rates per minute are available when making PC to cell/mobile phones or land lines.


Phone Out service allows you to call anywhere in the world from your computer. You must buy credits but the prices are reasonable and no contract is required.

Services based on computer programs or software include Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger, Skype, etc.


Now that you have all this information, don’t be afraid. Take your time and choose the right company for you. VoIP based phone services may seem complicated but they are really very simple once you start to use them. Hopefully, we at have helped you make your decision. Now all you have to do is call a friend and start talking!!!

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