All About VOIP
Everyone has a phone, but fewer and fewer people have landlines. Even as that trend continues, there are cases where a landline makes a lot of sense, and you want to have a stable, reliable phone for specific calls.
When that is the case, you actually have two options for your phone. You can get a traditional landline that runs through the old infrastructure, or you can run your phone through the internet, utilizing something known as VOIP.
What Is VOIP?
VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. In short, it’s a telephone service that runs through the internet rather than through traditional phone lines and switchboards.
That means that VOIP is technologically distinguishable from landline phones and cellular phones. It’s a completely different way to use the internet, and the concept is pretty simple.
The internet already routes informational traffic from device to device. VOIP simply takes advantage of that routing in order to establish voice communications between two devices. So, you can make a phone call with a regular phone using VOIP, but the infrastructure that actually connects you to the other person on the call is all attached to the internet.
Advantages of VOIP
VOIP is a popular way to get phone service, and there are a few good reasons for that. Most notably, VOIP tends to be cheap and efficient. You probably already have internet service, so attaching your phone lines to it can really optimize your technology and spending.
Assuming you already have internet service in the location where you want your VOIP phone, VOIP is usually the cheapest way to get phone service. VOIP service covers all of the same functions of regular phone service, but because it runs through internet infrastructure, it’s much cheaper to supply and maintain.
On top of that, traditional phone services have special taxes and fees that don’t apply to VOIP. It’s the more affordable option for several reasons, and that translates into real savings.
VOIP also tends to come with all of the major phone features by default. Such features include video conferencing, caller ID, three-way calling, call forwarding, voicemail, call waiting, and plenty more if you go through the full list on any service provider.
Let’s emphasize this point. These features are usually standard — meaning you don’t pay extra for access to any of them. That’s another way that VOIP tends to be the cheaper option, and it’s a more capable service in terms of features.
Disadvantages of VOIP
While that covers the things that make VOIP a compelling option, it’s not the whole story. There are downsides to putting your phone connection online. Most notably, those downsides include the problems with internet reliability (if your internet goes out a lot, you don’t want to use VOIP for crucial phone lines) and internet security.
Traditional phone lines can maintain power even during a major power outage. The power runs through the phone lines themselves, giving them independent functionality. This is particularly important when you need to contact emergency services when you don’t have power. Traditional phone lines can do this unless that separate infrastructure is also taken down.
Meanwhile, you don’t have internet access without power. During an outage, your VOIP lines are completely dead, and that’s an extra problem when you need to contact emergency services. In general, it’s a good idea to have a backup emergency line for this reason (and that line can be cellular or an emergency-only landline).
VOIP runs through the internet. That means that it can be attacked in all of the same ways as any other internet device. Hacking, DDOS, service theft, and more are all potential problems with a VOIP line.
This doesn't mean that any particular problem is likely to occur on your VOIP line, but when security is an issue, it’s important to know what is and isn’t possible.
Internet-enabled attacks cannot target traditional phone lines. It’s technologically impossible. In fact, attacking a phone line requires a physical connection to that line. This makes traditional phone lines much more secure.
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