What is a VOIP Telephone System?

Dee S.

Voice over Internet Protocol, or a VOIP telephone system, provides people with a cheaper, more technical way to use their telephones. It is ideal for homes and small businesses, especially if long-distance calls are common. A VOIP telephone system turns the analog sounds of the voice of the user into data that is digital in format. Instead of using telephone lines, the digital data is sent over the Internet.

A webcam for use with VoIP.
A webcam for use with VoIP.

The VOIP telephone system is available from several companies. It is important to research the companies to make sure they offer the system that best fits with your home or business. For example, one company does not compress the voice when it changes the sound to digital data, while another company does. In addition, some companies use adapters and general Internet service, while another uses a digital voice system that transmit data over a broadband network. All companies promise that the connection will be consistently clear, easy to use, and inexpensive.

VOIP telephone systems generally have cheaper long distance charges than a traditional landline phone.
VOIP telephone systems generally have cheaper long distance charges than a traditional landline phone.

Once the VOIP telephone system is set up, the telephone will ring, sounding just as it did prior to installing the system. Most touchtone phones work well with the system. With some systems, the adapter can travel or move with the user, making it easy to take the phone on trips. In addition, there is no reason to change the telephone number each time the user moves.

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Almost all VOIP telephone systems offer the same telephone options as those found in traditional phone systems. For example, voicemail, call waiting, call forwarding, and caller identification are all common. The main difference is that there is a monthly phone bill; however, national long distance is usually free. In addition, people can call abroad for much cheaper than traditional international long distance programs.

There are some disadvantages to using a VOIP telephone system. Some people report issues with clarity or white noise. In addition, some systems will not work if there is a home alarm system. In many cases, if the electricity goes out, the VOIP telephone system will not work.

Many companies offer enhanced-911 calling or e-911 calling. Without it, a potentially dangerous life-threatening situation can arise. With VOIP enhanced-911 there is a physical address associated with the telephone number. In most cases, enhanced-911 is available for a fee and only works as long as the user updates the information as it changes. It allows 911 responders to find the home or physical address of the person calling 911.

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