What to look for in a VoIP provider
VoIP is the buzz word among the small-business operators and other corporate users who want to cut down on their expenses. VoIP providers are now widely available in different packages and options. You have many options in selecting the right kind of VoIP services for your business. But what you should be careful about is the features and quality of these different VoIP services.
There are two kinds of VoIP providers – general-purpose and special-purpose.
General-purpose providers offer standard features like call forwarding and voicemail, as well as a variety of other functions. These kinds of VoIP services do not give much importance to specific applications or settings. And when you use them, it means that you have to learn the ways of using the special features of the VoIP provider.
The special-service providers on the other hand specialize in offering customized solutions specifically designed for particular businesses. This is one reason why most businesses today prefer to go with the special-service providers. They offer features that the regular telecommunication providers do not offer. The special-services VoIP service provider may also include features like email or faxing, advanced caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding, voice mail, and a lot more. The features of these types of voice services are the ones that distinguish them from regular telephony services.
When you use voice services, you are able to make low-cost calls using your regular telephone.
The services include three basic options. First is that you can go for the hosted VoIP service. Hosted VOIP services allow you to rent or buy a dedicated server, which is similar to the traditional telephone server but it does not involve buying a telephone device. Instead, you can plug in an adapter to your regular telephone, and you can then place phone calls from any compatible broadband or home phone service to the adapter. This kind of arrangement is ideal if you want to save on VoIP infrastructure costs.
The second option is a third-party VoIP provider. The good thing about this kind of arrangement is that you don’t need to lease an adapter, since you will be using it for your telephone service only. The bad side is that you cannot choose the specific quality features that you want to enjoy when using the VoIP phone. It’s not possible for you to test out all the functions and capabilities of a VoIP phone before purchasing it.
The last type is the special VoIP phone. It is an entirely different technology from regular phones, and they work using the internet connection. The special one, however, does not work using a conventional telephone handset. You can make and receive long distance calls using your internet connection. The calls made with this type of phone also have a unique number assigned to them. As soon as you connect to the internet, whichever special VoIP services provider you will use, you will be able to see all the numbers being used by your family and friends.
A regular telephone is used in a process called ‘local area call’ (LAC). This simply means that a local number is being dialed and answered by a customer support representative. To make a long distance call, however, a separate long distance number is needed. This number is forwarded through the internet connection, using your special voip phone, and then to the appropriate recipient. So when you make a local long distance call, you’ll be talking to the person who actually lives near you.
- All the three types of VoIP services mentioned above have their own advantages and disadvantages.
- The most important is that, no matter which VoIP services you use, you will always need to have a regular telephone. So if you’re not tech-savvy, it might be a good idea to pick up a VoIP phone for use with your computer.
- You can connect it to the internet and make calls using it even if you don’t have internet connection.