Residential VoIP – Best Home Phone Service in 2019

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. Telephone calls using VoIP are conveyed over the Internet rather than through landlines but are channeled into existing telephone systems. As a result, anyone with a VoIP connection can receive and make calls to telephones on the landline system as well as to cell phones. VoIP companies were established starting in the early 2000s when the Internet began to come of age. Today a number of residential VoIP providers deliver services at varying prices, but the basic services are essentially the same. In order to use a VoIP provider, you will need to have high-speed Internet available in your home. Before using VoIP, it might be wise first to check whether the speed of your Internet is capable of handling the traffic. Some of the VoIP providers have a tool on their site that you can use to check whether your bandwidth is sufficient. In most cases, it will be.

Top 10 VoIP Providers 12/2019

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Check the price

When considering the cost of VoIP, remember that you will need to buy a physical telephone (if you do not already have one) which you can plug into the modem that comes with VoIP. You will likely need to buy a modem as well. But these expenses, of course, are one-time costs.
Generally, most VoIP services cost less than regular landline telephone services when compared one-on-one. Most VoIP services are priced below $20 a month for unlimited calls in North America. A similar provision from a landline provider usually will run more.
The comparison becomes less direct, however, should you opt for bundled services that are often provided by landline telephone providers. The bundle generally includes Internet, cable TV and telephone services.

How to compare
To compare these bundled services with the price of your VoiP provider, it is advisable to calculate the services that you need, generally telephone, high-speed Internet and cable, on an individual basis and then compare the totals. Write down what you would pay (or do pay) for bundled services and then write down the individual services that you would require along with VoIP service.
If you are using, or intend to use, streaming TV, such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV, or Apple TV, and you do not require a hook up to cable TV, you will need to calculate only the charge for high-speed Internet and a VoIP provider. The Internet will work for your streaming TV as well as for a VoIP telephone. As long as you have sufficient bandwidth you will be able to use the VoIP telephone, a laptop connected to the Internet, and the streaming TV services all at the same time.

International calling
If you often place international calls, VoIP services are usually considerably less expensive than landline calls.
Most VoIP companies allow you to make unlimited calls to Canada as well as anywhere in the United States for no more than the basic monthly charge. In addition, a few VoIP companies offer unlimited calls to as many as 70 countries as well as North America for a set price that can be as low as about $45 a month. Others will have limited international calling time, but for a lower price. Still others will charge for international calls, although the charge is usually lower than that for landline telephones. Match your needs with each company’s pricing.

Third-party providers provide special deals to make calls abroad from a landline, often to individual countries rather than multiple countries. But if you would like the freedom to call and speak internationally without worrying about how much you are spending, the best deals are to be found using VoIP.

Check the features

In most cases, VoIP offers similar features to those provided by landline providers — and more. In addition to such basic provisions as call forwarding, caller ID, call waiting, voice mail, and receiving and sending faxes, most VoIP providers also offer voice mail messages that are also available online, are converted to text, and are sent to an email address. Depending on the clarity of the voice of the person leaving the message, some messages are more easily understood in text form than others. In most cases, however, they provide a good idea of what the message is about.
Generally, the clarity of VoIP calls are similar to those available on a cell phone. They are almost as clear as those on a landline, but the clarity can vary depending on the quality of the line that is being called.

Check the portability

Among the major benefits of most VoIP services are that they can be taken with you wherever you go. This feature is unavailable when using a landline, which is useable only in your home and nowhere else. Should you move, you can take your telephone with you. There is no need ever to obtain another telephone number.

Indeed, using VoIP you can plug in your modem and hook it up to the Internet anywhere in the world. The service works just as though you were still at home. Friends and family who call your number can reach you without paying additional costs. Indeed, they will have no idea (unless you tell them) that you are away from home, whether that is in another state or another country.

In addition, apps on your smart phone that can be downloaded and linked to your VoIP provider also work anywhere in the world as long as wi-fi is available. In that case, you do not have to have your modem and physical telephone with you. If you are on vacation or out of town for a day or two you can still make and receive calls as well as check your voice mail messages — at no extra cost — as long as you can hook into wi-fi.

A drawback of all VoIP services clearly is that if the Internet in your home is down the telephone will not work. A power outage will turn off the Internet as well as the telephone. Landline services still work in an outage.
Many VoIP providers, however, let you set up a cell phone to which calls will be diverted should the Internet be down.

Making the switch

Should you be convinced that VoIP is for you, check out the services that are available from residential VoIP providers. Read the reviews of each and assess the individual features that each provider includes to determine which provider is most suitable for you.

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