VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) enables you to make and receive phone calls over your high-speed Internet connection. You can make calls using a wide variety of devices including a standard touch-tone phone attached to an ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter). With a good connection, you get the same or better quality as with traditional phone service, but you typically get many more features and pay far less for your calls than with your local telephone company (Verizon, AT&T, Qwest, Sprint, and so on).
Will VoIP service work with Internet access over satellite? +
It depends on the Internet service, but probably not, or at least not reliably. Satellite service introduces quite a bit of delay or latency into an Internet connection due to the distance of geosynchronous satellites, and that delay makes it very difficult for any VoIP service to work properly, especially if there are very many "hops" between the satellite downlink and the VoIP server.
If my PC connects to the Internet through a USB port on my DSL or cable modem and has no Ethernet port, how do I connect the VoIP ATA? +
To use VoIP, you need to convert your high-speed Internet connection from USB to Ethernet. You can do this by connecting a router in between your DSL or cable modem and your computer, and then connecting your VoIP device to an Ethernet port on your router.
Does VoIP work with WiFi or WiMax (wireless Internet) networks? +
No problem. You can use VoIP if your wireless Internet Service Provider (ISP) or your home network provides an Ethernet connection into which you can connect your VoIP ATA. Many VoIP customers have wireless networks in their home or subscribe to a wireless ISP. In addition, there are Wireless Bridges that essentially transform certain SIP Phones and ATAs into wireless devices that can work with your wireless network, although a wired connection between your IP device and your router is preferred. In addition, if you’re using VoIP via a Softphone with a headset or USB handset, you can call the world while sipping a cappuccino at your favorite Internet cafe, or wherever you log into a WiFi Hotspot.
Is it possible to cancel my traditional telephone service and still keep the DSL service I had on that line? +
You need to contact your DSL provider and ask them, because every provider has different rules and offerings. This service is known as Naked DSL.
What ports do I need to open if my VoIP ATA or SIP Phone is behind a firewall? +
Most customers simply connect their ATA or SIP Phone to their router and start using the service because it is designed to work behind most firewalls. If you have an older or more complex firewall, make sure that UDP traffic from you to the outside world is open. Otherwise, you won’t ever register with the server and won’t be able to make calls. If you have any problems, definitely contact customer service.
Will VoIP work with a dial-up Internet connection? +
Customers successfully use VoIP over a dial-up Internet connection, but the clarity is nowhere near the quality of a high-speed connection. In addition, the call has to be made with a softphone application from the computer being used to access the Internet because you can't plug an ATA or a SIP phone into a standard RJ-11 telephone jack.
What is broadband or high-speed Internet access? +
The most common high-speed connections from homes are DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) and cable modems running at 256K to 768K (Kilobits per second). Businesses typically use either DSL running at 768K to 2M (Megabits per second) or connections known as T-1 (1.5M), T-3 (45M), or Ethernet (10M to 100M or even 1G (Gibabits per second)). Wireless Internet access protocols such as WiFi and WiMax are starting to become popular as well. You can use VoIP over any of these broadband Internet connections. The only high-speed access method that can have problems with VoIP is satellite Internet, due to the delay introduced by communicating with the geosynchronous satellite.
Check your real Internet download and upload speeds with any internet bandwidth test tool. These can be found by doing an internet search for “bandwidth test.”
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