H Media blog

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

VOIP Problems

VoIP is a means of telephone service made available through the ever-expanding popularity of broadband internet service. VoIP (or "Voice over Internet Protocol") services enable users to call extremely long distances over the World Wide Web without accruing large conventional long-distance telephone fees. In order to use VoIP, customers must have an existing broadband internet connection in place. The VoIP carrier provides a new phone number, access to the service, and for an additional fee, the phone equipment as well. While companies such as Vonage and Skype helped pioneer the industry by making people more aware of the technology, large conventional telephone carriers are also stepping up in order to offer their own VoIP services, proving that the technology is maturing. However, despite the large backing of major telephone carriers, VoIP still isn't perfect.

The most notable of existing VoIP problems is the lack of an adequate infrastructure and effective backend system. Though as the companies and divisions that are devoted to VoIP services implement increasing usable standards in place this aspect grows less worrisome. However, in the beginning, billing issues as well as IP concerns had some companies, particularly those that specialized in conventional phone services, reeling.

Another large weakness that VoIP exhibits when compared to traditional home phone service is that VoIP is reliant on a broadband connection (dial-up internet is too slow), service up-time, and power, whereas a traditional phone service combined with an older, powerless phone needs none of them. While broadband internet service has become much more reliable in recent years, it is still not as dependable as conventional telephone lines. This means that if there is a problem with internet service, there will be no telephone service as well. While this can be very inconvenient for home use, it can be downright devastating for businesses that find themselves in a situation with no phones. Additionally, the unavailability of telephone service during a power interruption can leave people stranded with no phone service during emergencies, which can have life-threatening consequences.

Finally, the quality of phone calls that VoIP services offer can range from very good to very unacceptable. While many customers rave about their clear service, others regularly complain of dropped calls, strange sounds, delays, and echo. Delays are commonplace in VoIP phone calls and many expect the problems to become worse before they get better because, as with anything else on the internet, VoIP calling is subject to hacking. Therefore, companies will be scrambling to implement security patches in place, possibly at the sacrifice of quality, at least at first.

However, even though VoIP may not be as reliable as traditional telephone communication just yet, there really should be no surprise. Traditional telephone services have had the better part of a century in which to perfect their networks and it still isn't perfect, either. For the cost, VoIP cannot be beat if you have a contingency line in case your power or broadband goes out. If you already have broadband internet service then the equipment and monthly VoIP service fees should be affordable enough to utilize the service in spite of its flaws – which are only going to become minuter as the technology matures.

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