How Does VoIP Work?
Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) operates like a regular phone line- but when you make a call using VoIP, it converts into a digital signal that travels over the Internet instead of a standard analog signal travelling only through the phone lines. If you are calling a standard, or regular phone number, the digital signal is converted back to a regular telephone signal before it reaches the other phone. With VoIP, you can make a call from a phone designed specifically for VoIP; directly from a computer, or a regular phone connected to a special adapter. With VoIP, you can also make calls via wirelessly using wi-fi in places like airports, parks, hotels and coffee shops.
What Kind of Equipment Do I Need?
A broadband connection (such as DSL, Cable, T1, etc.), adapter, or specialized phone is necessary to make a VoIP call. Equipment may depend on the type of VoIP service you have. Telephone handsets designed specifically for VoIP connect to your broadband connection and function just like a regular telephone, but with many more features. With some services, you can simply add a VoIP adapter to your regular telephone and dial out, but some of the features may not be available.
Is there a difference between making a Local Call and a Long Distance Call?
It depends on the provider you are using. Many VoIP calls will act just like traditional local and long distance, but there are always exceptions. Also, if you have requested a different area code different from the area in which you live, numbers around your location may be long distance. It also means that people who call you may incur long distance charges depending on their area code and service. Some VoIP providers charge for a long distance call to a number outside your calling area, similar to existing, traditional wire-line telephone service. Other VoIP providers permit you to call anywhere at a flat rate for a fixed number of minutes.
If I have VoIP service, who can I call?
Depending upon your service, you might be limited only to other subscribers to the service; with a VoIP phone from MichTel, you are able to call anyone who has a telephone number - including local, long distance, mobile, and international numbers. If you are calling someone who has a regular analog phone, that person does not need any special equipment to talk to you.
What Are Some Advantages and Disadvantages of VoIP?
Our VoIP services offer features and services that are not available with a traditional phone, or are available but only for an additional fee. If you eliminate your traditional phone service complete, you will be able to avoid paying for both a broadband connection and a traditional telephone line. VoIP is also extremely flexible- you can take your telephone number anywhere with you, regardless of location; you can also have many locations be able to make inter-company calls without long-distance phone charges!
If you're considering replacing your traditional telephone service with VoIP, be aware that because of the nature of VoIP and the way it is powered, phone services won't work during a power outage if you don't have a battery backup properly installed. MichTel can, however, help you eliminate this problem.
Does the FCC Regulate VoIP?
The FCC has imposed 911 obligations on providers of interconnected VoIP services that allow users generally to make calls to and receive calls from the regular telephone network. You should know, however, that 911 calls using VoIP are handled differently than 911 calls using your regular telephone service. Please see the FCC's consumer fact sheet on VoIP and 911 services for complete information on these differences.