Our VoIP FAQ contains the most common VoIP questions and answers that we have received at WhichVoIP.com since our early days back in 2005. These questions are mainly from our visitors interested in VoIP for their HOMES. Click on the VoIP question below that you are interested in and you will be directed to the corresponding answer. Alternatively, you can scroll down and peruse all of the questions and answers in this section at your leisure.
If you have VoIP questions related to your BUSINESS, consult our BUSINESS VOIP FAQ
Struggling to find your VoIP question and answer? No problem, use the COMMENTS section at the bottom of this page to post your question and get a response from us usually within 24 hours.
Don't be shy, we get all sorts of questions here but please try and keep it phone service related :-)
Have questions about how much VoIP phone service might cost for your home phone service? See the popular provider table below for latest deals.
VoIP is an acronym for Voice over Internet Protocol or as commonly stated Voice over IP. Internet Protocol (IP) is the method by which data is sent over the Internet (from computer to computer for example). So, basically, VoIP is the transmission of your voice over an internet connection.
As VoIP uses your internet connection to transmit your voice (analog) over the internet (digital), your voice signal must first be converted into a digital signal that the Internet Protocol (your internet connection) understands. This digital signal of your voice then travels over the internet and is directed to the number you are calling. At the other end, the digital signal is converted back to an analog signal (your voice) so the person you are calling can hear you. The conversion at the other end allows you to speak to anyone with a regular phone number, whether they have VoIP service or regular phone service. Refer to our VoIP Explained page for more detailed information on this topic.
A high speed internet connection is required, such as DSL or Cable Broadband service. To use your existing phone you will need a phone adapter to allow connection to your internet connection. This adapter provides the conversion from your analog voice to the digital signal required for internet transmission. Alternatively, you can purchase a special VoIP phone (often called IP Phone), which can be plugged straight into your internet connection with no phone adapter required. You will also have to sign up for a VoIP Service Provider. Typically, Service Providers will provide the required phone adapter free of charge.
The number of VoIP Service Providers is increasing every week. Most offer various VoIP solutions to suit most peopleís needs, with varying prices and features. For a list of VoIP Service Providers that best suit your needs, check out our VoIP Provider comparison page. Also, check out the VoIP Reviews page for links to user reviews of VoIP Service Providers.
This is an important question to ask. There are a number of VoIP Service Providers out there and they are increasing every week. Most Service Providers have a selection of plans to choose from and provide various different features, at various different costs. For a list of VoIP Service Providers that best suit your needs, check out our VoIP Provider comparison page. Also, check out the VoIP Reviews page for links to user reviews of VoIP Service Providers.
Most plans provided by VoIP Service Providers now allow the user to call any number anywhere in the world, including local numbers, long distance numbers, international numbers, and cell numbers. However, this may depend on the Provider and the VoIP Plan you choose. For a list of VoIP Service Providers that best suit your needs, check out our VoIP Provider comparison page.
Probably the biggest advantage of a VoIP phone service is the cost savings over a traditional phone service. These savings can be substantial, depending on the Service Provider and Plan you choose, and your normal phone usage. Other advantages include feature rich Plans (caller ID, call forwarding, voicemail, call waiting etc), portability (you can take your phone adapter with you and in theory use on any high speed internet connection), and if you have a broadband internet connection you donít have to maintain and pay the additional cost of a phone line just to make phone calls.
One of the main disadvantages of a VoIP phone service is that it may not work during power outages or outages in your high speed internet connection. Other disadvantages include, 911 emergency dialing may not be provided by some Service Providers (rare these days), you need a high speed internet connection (DSL, cable etc.), and you may not get a directory listing. It should be noted however that VoIP technology is progressing rapidly, and many of the disadvantages of a VoIP phone service compared with a traditional phone service are being addressed through enhancements.
Typically yes, but some Service Providers may not support this feature. A great alternative to consider is an Internet Fax service (also known as Online Fax).
No, not if you are using a phone adapter or a special VoIP phone. However, your high speed internet connection must be active for your VoIP service to work.
Nearly all VoIP Service Providers now offer the option to keep your existing phone number if you wish (referred to as number portability). This may vary between VoIP Provider, so check this before signing up for service.
Yes. Some VoIP Service Providers provide a Number for Life feature. This means that as long as you stay with your Service Provider you can keep your number, if required, even when you move house locally or to another city/state.
Some VoIP Service Providers now offer the customer the option to change their phone number themselves via their Provider web site or by phoning customer service.
Set-up is very simple. Your VoIP Service Provider will provide you with a phone adapter (if using your existing phone). You simply plug this adapter into your internet connection and your phone into the adapter.
There are four possibilities for adding multiple phones onto your VoIP phone service.
1) Using a multiple jack extension connector: You can plug this into your Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA). This will allow you to have multiple phones on a single line, at the location of your ATA device.
2) Using cordless phone systems that come with a base unit and additional handsets: The base station of the cordless telephone plugs directly into your ATA. The additional handsets can then be placed anywhere in the house, distributing your VoIP phone service to your required locations.
3) Using wireless phone jacks: The base unit connects to your ATA and the wireless jacks plug into your household electrical outlets, in the locations where you want your additional phones. You can then connect each of your additional phones to a wireless jack.
4) Using the existing telephone wiring and extensions in your home: This involves disconnecting your phone wiring at the Demarcation Point in your Network Interface Device (typically a grey or black box located on the outside of your house). Once you have disconnected your existing phone line to your home, you can plug your ATA into one of your existing phone extensions. This will then distribute your VoIP phone service to all other phone extensions in your home. It is recommended that you seek advice from an electrician or someone who is familiar with internal telephone wiring on how to best connect your VoIP service to your current wiring to take advantage of your homes multiple extensions. It is also advised that you pre-check the wiring on the jacks to make sure you don't have live PSTN voltage on the jacks before connecting them to the ATA. A simple telephone line tester device can be used for this purpose.
Author: Andy Forgrieve
Use the form below to add your comments/thoughts and to interact with us. All comments will be moderated by WhichVoIP.com before going live. We try to answer all questions within 24 hours.
Posted by Cliff on May 6th, 2013:
learned a lot from your 16 VOIP Questions. Thanks. About ready to set up Ooma Premier service porting my 2 lines from Vonage that used to be with Qwest/Century Link. Still have DSL 12down/5up . Thinking about a new 3rd line # thru another cheap VOIP provider but concerned whether my 4 port CL router can handle it with my 3 desktops & hp printer without losing any sound quality.
-> WHICHVOIP Response: Hi cliff. should be fine, you have loads of bandwidth there to handle this. Only downside is having multiple providers to deal with. You can add a switch downline to the router to handle the PCs etc.
Posted by neil dubner on April 28th, 2013:
can I use hughes satellite as my internet connection. I have no other access to the internet
-> WHICHVOIP Response: Only issue with satellite broadband is the latencies/delays rather than the actual bandwidth as this can affect the voice quality. We do have a voip test that you should run to check your broadband for VoIp. VoIP tends to be hit or miss though with satellite backhaul to be honest.
Posted by JimM on April 21st, 2013:
Can you have the same land phone number and VoIP number at the same time
-> WHICHVOIP Response: Hi Jim. Your VoIP number would replace your landline and you can still use your same phone and number, it's just the call will go across the Internet to its destination.
Posted by Nancy on April 15th, 2013:
Will I be able to get email notifications of messages left on my VoIP phone?
-> WHICHVOIP Response: Hi Nancy, yes any messages left on your VoIP number can be emailed to an address of your choosing. It's a great feature.
Posted by joel on March 27th, 2013:
what happens when your phone doesn't work. Who do you contact? Internet provider or ooma?
-> WHICHVOIP Response: Hi Joel. If you still have Internet access i.e. check a few websites then it would suggest ooma may be down. If no internet then worth contacting your internet provider....using a cell phone :-)
Posted by Jasper on March 20th, 2013:
Sometimes I have no dial tone - what would cause this?
-> WHICHVOIP Response: Normally you would see this if your Internet went down - VoIP needs an Internet connection to make and receive calls. A power outage would cause this too but guessing you'd have noticed that one Jasper :-)
Posted by Ted R on March 15th, 2013:
One of the best features is voicemail to email. When I'm away from home I can listen to my voicemails using mail tool on my ipad, love that man!
-> WHICHVOIP Response: Yeah we love that feature too Ted!
Posted by Janet on March 11th, 2013:
Some of the providers say they work on smart phones - what does that mean?
-> WHICHVOIP Response: Good question Janet. This is called a soft phone and it means that you can download an app for your smart phone (or even WiFi tablets) and make calls from that device using your home phone service provider. Great if you are on the road! On a smart phone this would just use up data minutes rather than voice minutes. If you prefer to use your cell phone for all calls and make low cost national and intenrational calls try mobile VoIP providers - see the tab at the top of this page.