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VoIP is a really great new technology that gives you more freedom, flexibility in your life, as well as pushing down those nasty phone bills. The practicality behind it is, that your phone is either directly, or indirectly, connected to the internet, the sound is transfered through broadband connection. Therefore there is no phone bill, you just have to pay your monthly fee to your service provider, but your already doing that anyway right?
How it Works
Let's look at this from an office's point of view. There are two branches who have to keep in touch all the time. They have discounts, but their phone bill is still in the thousands. Their computer network is set up, all the computers go through a router and connect to the internet in both offices. What you can do is buy a voice router. Existing phones can be plugged into these routers, the voice routers are plugged in into the regular routers, and connect to the internet through them. The standard PSTN lines (phone lines) are also plugged into the voice router so that normal calls can be accepted. If set up at both offices, they can talk to each other for no cost, but the internet cost, but that is already paid.
If you focus on everyday users you can still see why this comes in handy. As the technology is spreading, many people will have a VoIP line, so you can call many people for free.
The advantages of VoIP telephony are so vast! You can call people with a VoIP line for free as I said, but you can still call people who don't yet have one (and tell them to get one), because your regular phone line is still active. In time everyone will have a VoIP line, so there will be no need for the PSTN line to be plugged in.
Another great advantage is mobile telephone numbers. If you subscribe to a VoIP service you will get a phone number that you can take with you. If you travel a lot on business, you can plug in your phone anywhere and make and receive calls from your number anywhere, and of course, for free.
There are numerous other advantages you can get by signing up with a VoIP provider. The cost is the fraction of your normal phone bill and you will get a host of good services. You will be able to use call waiting, redirecting, everything you could with your old phones. You can also get cheap, secondary numbers, you can give this to your family and call them for free from anywhere on the road.
Strange as it is, there are some disadvantages, although mostly temporary. Not everyone has a VoIP line yet, although the service is spreading like wildfire. It will take some time for people to get to grips with the technology and make the jump.
Internet connections are still a barrier to good VoIP services. These services depend mainly on good internet quality and if that is not given, you won't be able to reap the benefits of VoIP. The internet is still advancing like a raging bull, so I guess the wait won't be long, but nevertheless, it will take some time.