The big advantage is VoIP may save you money depending on how much you are currently spending for local and long-distance calls. What you will need to do is get the total cost the phone company is charging and compare it against a VoIP plan that interests you. With most plans, you get free calls within the U.S. and Canada for a low flat rate. International calls usually have very low rates with no connection fees. For both residential customers and businesses that make a lot of long distance and international calls, the savings can be several hundred dollars a year.
Another advantage is with the features available with VoIP. Features such as caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding, 3 way conferencing and voice mail are usually included at no extra cost. With the phone company, these services are usually extra.
In addition, you can make free phone calls anywhere there is a high speed Internet connection available. That means you can be in another state or even in another country and make calls as if you were back at your home or business. You will just need to bring your phone adapter along with you and possibly a phone in case one is not available.
The first thing all mean the same thing. Which is using IP (Internet protocol) for voice services. Some voice networks are only packet-switched and have no access outside of their own VoIP network. Most VoIP networks have a Gateway that connects to a circuit-switched external network which gives them acces to external calling. One of the gateways responsibilites is to convert G.711 Circuit-switched media (typically a T1 provided by a telco company) to the 7.723 Packet-switched media that will traverse the companies VoIP network. A device called a gatekeeper will then convert the IP address (used by H.323 protocol) to a standard telephone number (E.164 address) that can be used for external calling.
A converged network is a network that passes both Voice and Data over the same set of devices. Converged networks generally implement QoS (Quality of service) on all actived network devices to ensure the VoIP has priority over standard data because of it's more rigid demands.
If you're considering replacing your traditional telephone service with VoIP, there are some possible differences:
► Some VoIP services don't work during power outages and the service provider may not offer backup power.
► Not all VoIP services connect directly to emergency services through 9-1-1.
► VoIP providers may or may not offer directory assistance/white page listings.