The Quick Start Guide to VOIP for the Home, Home Office, and Small Business

Look Over Your Options Before Choosing a Voice Over IP Distributor

Before you choose a voice over IP distributor—or VOIP service provider—you need to know about the choices available to you.

Some companies like Vonage market themselves as the alternative or replacement for regular phone service. Others are better suited as an additional line, business service, or long distance service for keeping in touch with loved ones.

Consider your usage pattern, prices, voice quality, reliability and features provided by the various VoIP companies.

Some of the best known IP distributors are:

  • Vonage—The pioneer of VoIP phone technology. At one point it held almost 61 per cent of the market share. Today this share has come down on account on new entrants in the market. Read more about Vonage...
  • AT&T Call Vantage—The unlimited plan of AT&T Call Vantage offers you free conference calling for up to 10 callers. An ATA is provided.
  • BroadVoice—A good choice if you make a lot of international calls.
  • Packet8—If your main objective is to reduce your phone bill, Packet8 may be the a good choice for you. Read more about Packet8.
  • Net2Phone—Net2phone is not as well known as the other voice over IP distributors. Its overall sound quality is good, though it can drop at times.
  • VoicePulse—The voice quality of VoicePulse has been rated as outstanding.
  • Verizon Voice Wing—It is one of the more expensive VoIP services. An adapter is provided.
  • IConnectHere—IConnectHere is a low cost voice over IP distributor. No ATA is included in the offer.
  • Voiceglo—The lack of features makes this VoIP service less attractive.
  • InternetTalker—It can only receive calls from other InternetTalker subscribers.
  • TalkPro—TalkPro can only work with a computer. Voice quality is rated as inconsistent.
  • Dialpad—It was rated as easy to set up, though the incoming voice quality was not clear at times.
  • Free PC to PC calling Service providers like Skype, EarthLink, PC-Telephone.com, Italk2U and FreshTel offer free PC to PC calling. You can only make calls to users who have installed the software application.
  • Microsoft NetMeeting, which is included in Windows 2000 and Windows XP, allows you to make calls to users who have the same software installed. Voice chat is available on AOL Instant Messenger.
  • SIP phones SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) phones have a built-in ATA. They are quite expensive and a top of the line Snom 200, which has got very high ratings, costs about $265.

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