A lot of people are slowing making the transition to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). But I believe that the technology has not yet been perfected to switch over. I am not ready to lose my phone number of twenty years. At the moment, there are services out there that will allow me to make calls over the internet while keeping my existing phone line. While that remains an option, it will be an option that I would prefer to take.
If you’ve been surfing around on the internet, I’m sure you’ve seen the advertisement for Vonage. I think they are currently the leader in this industry. The industry is still young and work still needs to be done on it. I don’t trust it enough to use as my main line of communication. Although it may be cheaper to make long distance phone calls over the internet, I am not sure if that is a big enough advantages to switch. Currently, there are still issues regarding poor voice quality, dropped calls and the 911 emergency services.
The quality of the sound being transmitted over the internet depends on your connection speed. If someone on the network is downloading and hogging up the bandwidth, you can be sure that the voice quality is going to suck. When you’re using the landline, you are not sharing the line with another device. If you’re using the phone and speaking with someone and someone else wants to use it, they would have to wait their turn.
This technology requires an internet connection in order to work. Your internet connection is not 100% reliable. I’m sure there has been time when you have had trouble connecting to pages or online services. The same goes for VoIP. When you are speaking into the microphone, the software you are using converts you analog signal into digital signals and sends it to the receiver. The receiver will get this signal and hears what you’re saying and they will reply. It’s as simple as that. But when you’re using VoIP, you don’t have a constant connection with the other party like you would with a landline. Staying connected like that would take up a lot of bandwidth so the connection is only made when it is needed. That is probably why some customer complains about dropped calls. Since you don’t have a constant connection with the other parties, somewhere along the line, your connection gets interrupted and your calls are dropped.
The 911 emergency services is another issue that VoIP is having problems with. When you dial 911 from your landline, your carrier knows which area you are in so they reroute your calls to the nearest dispatcher. With VoIP, it is a little different. Your phone number is connected to an internet protocol (IP) address. Your phone number may show up on the call display as 905-555-5555 but the when someone dials that number, the IP gateway looks for your IP address. Your IP address is what identifies your computer on the internet. When you’re browsing to “http://www.donkhuth.com” you’re actually going to another IP address but that address has been mask because it is easier to remember “www.donkhuth.com” than it is to remember a bunch of digits with a few dots. The thing with IP address is that your internet service provider (ISP) could be located in the US while you’re living in Canada. So when you dial 911, the gateway has trouble narrowing down your location. In the end, that call you made to 911 would probably be dropped. Either that or you ending up waiting half an hour while your house burns to the ground.
In an event of a power outage, your VoIP phone would be rendered useless. It needs the internet to make phone calls and your internet will not work because you have no power to your modem. With traditional landline, the phone can be powered by the phone jack. If you have the old style phones, the one that doesn’t required an adaptor to work, those phones are powered by the phone jacks. I’ve tested that out before with an light emitting diode (LED). By touching the legs of the LED to two of the wires in your phone jack, the LED lights up and ties up your phone line. It’s kind of cool.
So until they have these issues fixed, I am going to stick to my traditional landline. The money you would be saving by switching over to VoIP is probably enough to pay for a bottle of Tylenol to help you with all the headaches that you’ll be getting from speaking Tech Support.