Using a VoIP Phone at Home

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shutterstock_155218334There are several good reasons for switching your home phone to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and several ways you can go about it.

The main incentive for doing so is cost. Because VoIP calls are made using the Internet, they often cost substantially less than calls made on a traditional landline phone.

If you regularly call friends and family who live interstate or overseas, then switching to VoIP may mean you could call them for a fraction of the cost of a call made on an analogue phone. And if you got them to switch to the same VoIP service provider as you are on, some plans would allow all your calls to them and from them to be totally free.

As well as cheaper calls, having a VoIP home phone gives you access to a range of often complementary features that you would pay extra for on a landline service. These include caller ID, call blocking, call redirection, instant messaging, conference calls, video calls and the ability to transfer data while making a call.

There are several ways you can switch to home VoIP. One way is to continue using your existing analogue phone handset and installing an ATA (Analogue Telephone Adaptor). This is a box that connects to your broadband modem and into which you simply plug the analogue handset to start making VoIP calls. ATA’s are very affordable and work with both wired and cordless analogue handsets.

Another way to get home VoIP is to purchase a dedicated VoIP handset. Instead of plugging into the phone socket on the wall, this handset plugs directly into your broadband modem, converting your voice into data packets and sending them via broadband directly from the phone.

A third way to access home VoIP is to use your desktop PC. This is a popular way for users of services such as Skype to communicate with each other both verbally and visually on their PCs. All you need is a connection via a VoiP service, a microphone headset and a web cam. The only drawback with this type of VoIP communication is that you are tied to your computer for the duration of the call.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the number of Internet users who are using VoIP has risen from 10% in 2008 to 26% in 2011 (8146.0 – Household Use of Information Technology, Australia 2010-11, 2012); a percentage that should continue to rise as more VoIP providers appear in the marketplace and as VoIP call costs continue to fall.

And with the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) offering potentially faster speeds and even better VoIP call quality, having a VoIP phone is likely to become the norm in most Australian homes in the not-too-distant future.

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