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Four Things to Understand Before Switching Your Landline to VoIP

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To avoid paying high fees for landline phone service, many people are switching to VoIP. VoIP, or Voice over IP, lets you make and receive calls over the Internet. Households are dropping their landlines because they already pay for high-speed Internet and using an Internet-based phone service can cut costs. Businesses are switching to VoIP, too. All businesses need an Internet connection. They also get to make national and international calls without having to pay extra.

VoIP has plenty of advantages that’ll make you want to switch. But before you do, you should know what you’re getting into. There are four important factors to take into account when considering VoIP.

1. Set-Up

Switching to VoIP from a landline requires some initial set-up. Some providers require you to purchase a special phone to use their service. If that’s the case, they’ll usually recommend which models work the best with their service. With some services, you can get a VoIP adapter that hooks up to your regular phone. Consider what your budget is and what you’d like to pay upfront for your VoIP equipment.

Another practical matter to keep in mind is who you’ll be calling. If you’re contacting other people using the same service as you, then there’s no problem. If you want to call landlines or mobile phones, however, you’ll have to find a VoIP service that allows those kinds of calls.

The final configuration tasks you’ll have to consider are migration and hosting. When you switch to VoIP, you’ll migrate info from your old service. The process should be straightforward, but some companies might require more steps than others. Ask about the difficulty of migration before choosing a provider. As a business owner, you have the choice between hosting the equipment on-site on your own server, or paying the provider to host it at a data center for you. If you host it yourself, you have full control over the system. But if you choose cloud hosting, you’ll have less worries over maintenance and support.

2. High-Speed Internet Required

VoIP usually requires a high-speed Internet connection to work. Without enough bandwidth, the quality of your call will suffer. VoIP calls don’t take up much bandwidth, but if you’re making several calls at once while using your Internet for other tasks, your call might lag or cut out briefly.

To ensure the quality of your VoIP calls don’t suffer, ensure you have enough bandwidth. If you’re considering switching to VoIP, you might have to contact your Internet Service Provider about upgrading your current plan. Another way to boost your VoIP quality is with a VoIP router. This prioritizes voice traffic over other data. VoIP also works best with Ethernet cables instead of a wireless connection. If you want to get the most out of VoIP, you should be willing to make some modifications to your Internet connection and equipment.

3. Emergency Calling

One big drawback of VoIP is the lack of emergency call capabilities. With a landline or a mobile phone, you can easily place a 911 call. If you’re on a landline, the emergency contact center can trace the location of your call without a problem. Locating calls from mobile phones and VoIP phones is more difficult. When you place a 911 call with VoIP, you’ll have to tell the dispatcher or 911 operator where you are. For some, the limited functionality of an emergency call is a big enough drawback to avoid VoIP. Although you never want to have to use them, you should ensure you can access proper emergency services if needed.

If you’re concerned about calling 911 but still want VoIP, you can look for providers who have an emergency calling function. These phones are configured to contact a local 911 response center instead of a national call center. They’ll even relay your street address. This feature isn’t a given for every VoIP provider, so double-check it’s available before purchasing.

4. Security and Reliability

Finally, you need to think about security and reliability with a VoIP phone. If you’re worried about the security of your current phone system, then VoIP is the better option. Why would phone service security be a problem? Consider how many cyber scams start with social engineering via fraudulent phone calls. A VoIP system can use encryption and identity management to prevent those calls from even coming through.

Concerning reliability, there are two factors to consider. The first is that with VoIP, you can take the phone with you and make calls from anywhere, as long as you’re connected to the Internet. A big drawback to VoIP, however, is that you’ll have no phone service if the power goes out or you lose your Internet connection. In emergency situations, a phone that still works in a power outage is essential. Most people have mobile phones, though, so they can continue to make calls until their mobile phone battery dies.

VoIP could be a great option for your home or business. If you’re tired of your landline and would rather use an Internet-based phone service, keep these four things in mind before you make the switch.

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