I sell VoIP service.
It will save most people
a LOT of money. However, it is NOT for everyone.
I tell prospective customers that their fax
machine will not work (sometimes it will, sometimes
I tell them it will NOT work with
home burglar alarm systems (sometimes it will, sometimes
I tell them it will not work with
their credit card terminal if they are using it
as a dial-up machine (sometimes it will, sometimes
it won't). Newer credit card terminals have an ethernet
port if you don't mind the cost of the security
If you are pretty much alone
in the home, then you can get away with a "1.5 Mb/s"
ISP. If you have gamers or video watchers, then
you are going to need at least "4.5 Mb/s" ISP. In
your case you have cable, they are likely delivering
6 Mb/s or more. It's actually the upload speed that
is the 'limit' to your happiness, but it seems no
ISP ever advertises their upload speeds.
Oh.... if you use satellite internet.... VoIP will
not work. (Baffles me because two-way video works
just fantastic on a "1.5 Mb/s" satellite internet
service, but I have never found a VoIP that works
on 'consumer grade' satellite service. You need
a C.I.R. service (committted information rate) which
will be very expensive.)
I can't believe
people are buying the magicjak idea. It costs here,
in Florida, $21 a month to leave your computer turned
on all the time... so any 'savings' by using their
'service' is eaten up by the cost of electricity.
Plus if your computer goes down, well... no telephone
I only support customers that buy a well
known "ATA" (Analogue Telephone Adapter). It is
basically a "sound card" and a 1 or 2 port (or more)
router in a box plus the power supply to generate
20 Hz 90 volt ringing voltages and a bunch more
functions. With a good ATA, you plug in your traditional
telephones (wired, wireless, answering machines,
whatever) and then your telephone acts pretty much
as you have used it all of your life. Except that
you get every feature you have ever heard of for
free (at least from me)... call-back, call waiting,
conference calling etc. If you have 10 telephones
in the office but only want to pay for 3 "telephone
lines" you get a box that is kind of like a router
and all of your inter-office calls are taken care
of and the incoming and outgoing calls are automatically
connected to the "telephone lines" (used to be known
as "c.o. line").
When choosing a company
look at the total cost ! The big orange box company
"tech support" is script readers in India. Is that
going to save you money?
Others do NOT include
a telephone number in their price. Heck... if I
wanted to mislead people while still telling the
truth I would tell people my service is free ! (it
can be, but I won't recommend it).
TAXES. Some states are still dealing with the matter
of taxes. The US congress a few years ago decided
it had the power to forbid states, counties, cities
etc from taxing the internet. However, states like
Florida say that they are taxing the telephone,
not the internet. (the internet is merely a substitute
for the telephone 'central office'. Florida has
a "substitute communications service" tax which
means that if you use two tin-cans and a string
to communicate, you still have to pay the tax. So
if you sign up with a company that is not collecting
communications services taxes keep in mind that
someday they might go belly-up and your state might
come after you for back-taxes.
575 different taxing authorities for communications
services, I fill out an 18 page tax return every
Another HUGE consideration for anyone
considering VoIP; the International Standards Organization
! Many VoIP services out there do NOT use I.S.O.
standards. So if you sign up with them and want
to go to another VoIP provider you have to buy all
new equipment ! In rare cases, you cannot even change
your ISP without a big hassle. If you sign up with
a service that is using the I.S.O. standards, you
can change your ISP all you want and never even
have to notify your VoIP provider (it makes absolutely
no difference to me who your ISP is..you can change
10 times a day and I will never care). In a small
office or large office this could be a big expense...
if you have to buy new "switches" (servers whatever
you want to call them) you could have a very expensive
bill when it is time to change services. With a
company using the I.S.O. standards, you can change
VoIP provider simply by entering the new account
information into your equipment.
are that your VoIP provider should (if you don't
choose one of the cheap or orange brands) will give
you nearly total control of your telephones. You
can see all the calls in and out to each extension.
You can restrict all the privileges for each individual.
You can control your voicemail. You can control
the forwarding etc. Or you can give your employees
(family etc) all the control if you wish.
If you have any more questions look at
Hunt around the menu and there is a
lot of techical information there.