Thursday, September 25, 2008

Choosing the right VoIP provider

There are many VoIP providers and choosing the right one can be an arduous task and what work flawlessly on your friend from another state doesn't guarantee that it will work on you without a hitch too.

The basic concept of Voice over IP communication is that VoIP to VoIP calls are
totally free while VoIP calls towards a PSTN (i.e landline) have a cost.

Typically you get many more features and pay far less for your calls on VoIP than you would be getting from your local telephone company. In most cases the VoIP is a little box that you receive when you sign up for VoIP service through a VoIP provider. You simply plug your
internet cable into one side and then plug your telephone into the other and voila! you are ready to make voip calls.

You can imagine the cost benefits for large scale companies giving dozens and dozens of phone calls abroad or national to other subsidiaries companies, or even partners. BPOs and Call centers overseas also masively benefited from this cost effective way of communication. Most call centers now rely on voip for their customer service hot lines and the same thing for those companies who make cold calling to solicit members or looking for prospective customers.

End users or individuals like most of us will also gain from voip technology in terms of cutting cost on our long distance fees. A typical $20 long distance cost monthly now can be cut to more than half by calling through voip instead of your local provider, more if you make lots of international calls.

VoIP also allow us to make free calls locally or internationally through VoIP to VoIP or PC to PC calls. Skype, Yahoo Voice, Google Talk, Onesuite, Vonage, ViaTalk and other VoIP providers usually provides free voip to voip calls. Not all voip provider are created the same though. Skype for example has their own protocol and can not be use on your over the counter ATA devide or USB phone. You need to buy Skype phone to use it without having your PC turned on. Yahoo Voice can be use with ATA but you need to tweak your device or at least has a good voip knowledge, not for your average joe. Onesuite on the other hand is a prepaid phone card with voip feature which is SIP based so it can be use on a softphone (X-lite, Portsip, etc) or ATA device.

The thing about choosing a quality VoIP provider these days rely on the provider size and on their ability to offer a 'Pay as you grow' service. I assume you think the bigger is the better right? Well, this is precisely the opposite, not that a major VoIP provider isn't providing a good service but its network is more prone to be saturated and obviously giving poor quality phone calls to its customers. It is very similar to the multiplicity of internet connection providers available 2-3 years ago and stretching out to the horizon: If you chose a small to medium size one, you had great chance to get an excellent bandwidth but in the other hand this one may
bankrupt after one year (remember Sunrocket?). And if you chose a big and well established internet connection provider, chances are you got slightly slower bandwidth (in these early days), but with a reliable and constant service (most of the time).

5 things to consider when choosing yor voip provider.

1. Your VoIP provider should have the ability to "Port" your phone number. Meaning
that you should be able to keep the same phone number you already have, if you want
2. Your VoIP Provider should have a money back guarantee so you can try their
service and if you aren't satisfied you can get your money back.

3. Your VoIP provider should have pay as you go plan or no plan so you can easily
quit whenever you want to and not worry about your unused minutes or remaining

4. Your VoIP Provider should have live customer service department AND a 24/7 at
that is a big plus. You will never know what time of the day you will need help.

5. Your VoIP provider should be accessible through your computer or as a stand alone
without having your PC turned on all the time.

I personally use Onesuite services and I actually followed the guideline when I decided to go with Onesuite voip. But always remember though, what works with your friend doesn't necessesarily mean it will work for you. The best way to find out if the VoIP provider you choose will work out fine on your end is to actually try and use it.

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