VoIP stands for “Voice over Internet Protocol”. It is a relatively new technology that allows you to place phone calls over your internet connection.
VoIP was originally used by people looking to have inexpensive long distance, especially for making international calls. Today, however, people use VoIP for both local and long distance calling, with some even using VoIP as their primary telephone line.
All VoIP requires some sort of broadband internet connection. A speed of 1.5 Mbps is sufficient, though a faster speed will provide a better quality connection.
Some forms of VoIP are standalone and don’t require a computer. A special modem with a telephone jack, called, often referred to as an analog adapter, is attached to your internet line, and then you can plug any standard telephone into that jack. While using our search tool, you will find this type of VoIP plan labeled as either Monthly Plan w/Adapter or Digital Phone under our VoIP service plans. These types of plans will give you VoIP without needing to have your computer turned on.
Other forms of VoIP require a computer for access. Some provide you with hardware that allows you to plug a standard telephone into your computer, while others require the use of a simple microphone and headphones plugged into your computer.
Sound quality of calls used to be an issue with VoIP, and it still may depending on the type of VoIP used and the speed of your internet connection. Digital Phone plans offered by service providers, however, will have comparable quality to most traditional landline or mobile phones.
The major disadvantage to using VoIP, especially as your primary phone line, is that since it requires the use of either a modem or computer, it will not function during power outages. In the event of power interruption, you will be unable to call 911 or other emergency services during this time. If this is a concern, then you should still keep a traditional phone line or mobile phone for emergency use, or at the very least have a battery backup for your VoIP modem and/or computer. Also, it is important to note that some popular VoIP services, such as Skype, offer no 911 emergency access at any time.