VoIP phones are used to send voice signals over the Internet, instead of over normal phone lines. These phones convert voice signals into data packets, which are sent over the Internet or any other IP network. At the receiving end the data packets are converted into voice signals once again. If the call is made to a conventional phone, the voice data is transferred from the Internet to the conventional phone lines near the end point.
All VoIP phones are plugged into broadband lines, and can be used to call anyone in the world. Some VoIP service providers enable customers to use their computers as a phone. In these cases, the customers can talk through a headset or a handset, plugged into the computer’s USB port.
VoIP phones offer many advantages, the biggest being a drastic reduction in costs. This is especially beneficial for individuals or businesses which make a lot of long distance calls. They specially suit families that need to talk to their sons or daughters working abroad.
VoIP phones also offer many innovative features, which are not found in conventional phones. The most important is the phone number. A customer can retain the phone number even if he leaves the city. This is because VoIP phones are not tied to area codes.
Almost every VoIP phone comes equipped with the following features: call forwarding, international call forwarding, caller id by number, caller id by name, call-waiting, call-waiting caller id, disable call waiting, distinctive ringing, repeat dialing, return dial and three-way calling.
Customers can ask for advanced features like call transfer, conference bridging, simultaneous ringing, sequential ringing and secondary virtual phone number. They can even seek additional service lines, toll-free numbers (incoming), MS Outlook integration and softphone support.
This is not all. VoIP phones can also be enabled to received voice mail, filter calls, receive faxes and carry out web-based administration. It is these value added services that make VoIP phones unique. The additional services come with a price tag, but they are certainly worth having.
No wonder more and more Americans are shifting to VoIP phones. They find VoIP phones more versatile and useful. However, there are some murmurs of dissent too. There are some customers who consider the voice quality to be inferior to that of a traditional phone. There are some who find the installation of a VoIP phone more complicated than that of a landline phone. However, as the technology improves these voices are gradually getting stilled.