Have you heard about or seen the commercials for VoIP? It stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and is essentially just that. It’s a way to make phone calls over the internet. There are basically three ways to use it including:
- Computer to computer
- Computer to fixed network lines (regular phones)
- Telephone calls through IP-based internal networks
And there are three ways to connect to a VoIP network:
- A VoIP telephone
- A regular telephone with a VoIP adapter
- A computer with speakers and a microphone
VoIP is a great tool for businesses because it enables you to call anyone anywhere in the world at a very affordable price. Prices are much lower than either a landline or cell phone rates. In fact, you can choose your own area code, so for example, if all of your family is back home in Boulder, Colorado you can choose the 303 area code and save on long distance charges.
VoIP also offers the facility for business owners to integrate audio and video applications while you’re talking to someone. You can even access data applications like your email, documents or even surf the net while you’re on the phone. Imagine talking to a client and needing to bring up information quickly to back up a point you’re making, or to research the client while you’re on the phone. With VoIP you can do this quickly and easily without interrupting your phone call.
You can also do web and video conferences with clients and contractors while you’re on the phone.
Worried about being tethered to a computer? Not the case – you can take your VoIP adapter anywhere and use your number anywhere there’s an Internet connection.
Many VoIP providers also offer a number of beneficial features including:
- Voice Mail
- Call Forwarding
- Call Waiting
- Caller ID
- Caller Blocking
- Do Not Disturb
Speaking of providers, you may be wondering how you can get VoIP and who the top reliable providers are. When comparing providers for your small business, here are just a few you can check out:
- Vonage Business Solutions (This used to be Vocalocity. It was purchased by Vonage in 2013)
- Jive Communications
- Ring Central
- Ooma Office
- Skype for Business
For your personal use, check out:
We will be posting full reviews and comparisons on these and other providers as time goes on. When comparing providers, be sure to check out reliability, customer service, compatibility, features, and of course price to make sure you’re choosing the right VoIP provider for you.