Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone service uses a broadband Internet connection (DSL or cable) instead of the Bell System circuits to carry your voice to any telephone in the world via the Internet. If you're not familiar with VoIP phone service, you'll be interested in this new technology that's giving traditional phone companies a run for their money.
Not only is VoIP phone service reliable, it costs 50-60 percent less than conventional telephone service. And most VoIP services give you free long distance calling throughout North America from any phone in the USA.
When you order VoIP phone service you receive a small "Analog Telephone Adapter" box that connects your telephone to your high speed Internet connection. This little adapter box, about the size of a paperback book, is linked to your phone number. Unlike a conventional telephone, where the phone number is fixed in place where the copper wires terminate in your home or office, with VoIP "the phone number is in the adapter box."
This opens up some fascinating possibilities.
Imagine that you are traveling away from home or the office, on vacation or on a business trip. As you pack your bags, why not slip that little adapter box into your luggage? It weighs just a few ounces and looks something like a computer modem. Remember: that adapter box contains your phone number. So wherever you take it, you're taking your phone number with you!
Now you've arrived at your hotel in a distant city ? perhaps even in a foreign country. Most hotels and motels today offer high speed Internet access, and that's all you need to hook up the adapter box. If you carry a laptop computer with you, that's fine. But you don't even need to turn it on to use VoIP phone.
Sit down at the desk and connect your VoIP adapter box to the hotel's high speed Internet connection. Wait about 45-seconds while the box gets ready. Reach over, unplug the hotel telephone from the wall and plug it into your adapter box. Pick up the phone and ? behold ? you've got dial tone.
Because your long distance is free, you can call anyone in the US or Canada without toll charges, as long as you're in the USA or Canada. Need to check on the spouse or the kids at home? Dial them up. Need to call the boss? A customer? Dial away. You've got free phone service, courtesy of the hotel's high speed Internet connection.
But there's more. Because you're carrying the adapter box with you, your friends, family and others can call you at your normal phone number and you can receive the call in your hotel room. Folks back in your home city don't even have to spend money on a long distance call.
You'll recall that the FCC ruled a year or two ago that phone numbers must be "portable." That ruling led to a rush of people who chose, for example, to move their home phone numbers to their cell phones, abandoning traditional landline service. That "portability ruling" saved people millions of dollars in landline service fees.
Carrying your VoIP adapter box with you is an entirely different kind of portability, and it's unique to VoIP phone service. One of our associates based in Atlanta actually carried an adapter box to Moscow, Russia, where he plugged it into a broadband Internet connection. He proceeded to dial an Atlanta number to speak to his wife from eight time zones away with no long distance charges whatsoever.
The telephone industry is evolving and VoIP services are leading the way. If you've not yet experienced the flexibility, economy and quality service you can get from VoIP, perhaps it's time to jump on the VoIP bandwagon and join the evolution.
Allan Ramsay is a 25-year veteran of the I.T. industry and principal at http://www.VoIP-USA.net, providing voice over IP phone service, landline, long distance plans, cellular phones, cellular calling plans, broadband access to the Internet and a host of Internet and telecommunication services to residential, SOHO and small business customers nationwide.