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The Best VoIP Service
Ultimate Buyers Guide

The Best VoIP Services

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Over recent years technology has come a long way, and our communication methods have changed radically in the past decade or so. People now use everything from texting and social networking to instant messaging and VoIP in order to communicate with others.

Are you looking to learn more about the best VoIP service? Well, I can offer a great amount of useful information because I have reviewed all of the best services and providers.

There are many benefits that come with using a VoIP solution, from the ability to use equipment that you already own, to the ongoing cost-cutting benefits and valuable features. However, in order to make the most of this technology you need to make sure you select the best VoIP service provider for you. My top 5 should help to make this task more manageable.

Our Top Picks

Vonage Review

  • Pros
  • Very competitive monthly pricing on plans
  • Free activation
  • A range of more than 20 premium features to increase practicality
  • North American calling to Puerto Rico, Canada, and now Mexico
  • Select your own area code and number or keep your existing one
  • Cons
  • Customers may be charged for advanced features

Vonage is perhaps the most trusted and most known name in VoIP services, and they have managed to provide an excellent level of service to their customers.

For those who want affordability and a package that is suitable for basic or light users, with the highest quality out there, Vonage is a solid choice with excellent options and a trusted reputation. They offer great savings over a traditional landline, and they offer great, modern features that provide a tremendous amount of convenience.

The voice quality in their calls is often revered as the best, and they offer more advanced features than nearly anyone in the market. Vonage customers will benefit from a wide range of service plans, each of which comes with a practical and useful variety of features. The cost of the plans along with the accompanying features will vary based on the plan you decide to go with.

PhonePower VoIP Review

  • Pros
  • Flexible plan and service durations
  • Free second line
  • Inclusive select international calls
  • High outgoing calls allowance
  • Unlimited incoming minutes
  • Cons
  • Costly early termination fee
  • No unlimited outgoing calls

Phone Power is a popular provider of VoIP services. Not only does this provider offer a range of service plans to suit all needs and circumstances, but each of its plans also come with valuable features to benefit users.

The provider is known for its excellent performance, reliable services, and functional plans. The range of plans also means that users get to benefit from flexibility, as there are three basic plans offering service durations of two years, one year, or monthly.

Each of the plans is competitively priced, although the longer contract ones do work out to cost much less than those that charge users month by month. The variety of features included with the range of plans includes free in-network calls to others who are with this provider, unlimited incoming minutes, inclusive select international calls, and a second line free of charge.

Phone Power is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau. The reviews of this provider on Yelp average around 3-stars, with some customers perfectly happy with the service while others are not overly impressed with customer service levels.

VOIPo Review

  • Pros
  • A choice of contract periods and plans
  • Competitively priced service
  • Excellent rating from BBB
  • A host of features that come with VoIP plans
  • Unlimited calls within USA and Canada
  • Cons
  • Mixed reviews due to issues like call quality

Founded in 2004, Voipo is a VoIP provider that offers month by month and annual contracts.

Voipo offers affordable pricing and a choice of contract periods for customers, which are two qualities that will appeal to many people. It is a good, solid provider and although it has mixed consumer reviews, it does come with an excellent BBB rating.

The service provides users with unlimited calls within the United States and Canada. There is a fair usage limit on the service, which stands at 5000 minutes, making it perfectly adequate for a wide range of needs. Users of this service can benefit from a free second line along with a host of features, including a free international call allowance.

The wide variety of features that comes with the plans from Voipo includes caller ID, call waiting, advanced voicemail, online call history, online voicemail, telemarketer block feature, DND feature, and 3-way calling amongst others. There are over 40 features in total. In addition, the provider offers a 30 day guarantee, which means greater peace of mind for those who take out the plan.

What is VoIP?

How Does VoIP Work and What is a VoIP Phone? Millions of people across the world use VoIP services, however, there are still many who have not yet experienced this groundbreaking technology. If you're asking questions like "What does VoIP stand for?," "What is VoIP?" or "What is a VoIP phone?" I've got all the info for you.

The official VoIP definition is an acronym: VoIP stands for "Voice over Internet Protocol." It is a designated category of hardware and software that allows people to use a broadband Internet connection as a means of transmission for phone calls. It works by sending voice data in packets, over the IP, instead of the conventional landline phone method.

In addition, VoIP technology is a type of IP Telephony, or Internet Protocol telephony. IP Telephony is just an umbrella term for making a phone system digital so that it can take advantage of the Internet. IP PBX and VoIP are just part of IP Telephony.

As a note: IP PBX, or Internet Protocol Private Branch Exchange, is a form of technology suitable for medium-sized businesses and large businesses. The IP PBX is used within the organization, allowing users to switch calls internally while simultaneously letting these same users to share external lines. Overall, IP Telephony's aim is to increase productivity in the office setting.

VoIP phone services are regulated by the FCC, and a variety of measures are upheld in accordance. The FCC requires calling records to be protected from disclosure, and 911 services are obligatory. Additionally, they require all VoIP providers to contribute to the Universal Service Fund.

VoIP phones are designed specifically to handle VoIP calls, and they convert standard voice data into a digital format that will be used to make VoIP calls. Types of VoIP phones include desk phones and VoWiFi hybrid phones. In fact, some companies feature literally hundreds of VoIP desk phones in their stores. Of course, you can always purchase a VoIP adapter, like the highly inexpensive Google Voice VoIP adapter, if you want to save money.

Key Considerations Before Choosing a VoIP Service

Voice over Internet Protocol has become a popular communication technology, both for businesses and in homes, enabling users to enjoy far more affordable communication through the use of a broadband Internet connection rather than standard phone lines. If you are wondering if a VoIP phone service is a good fit for your business or if you desire a residential VoIP, then keep reading!

Using VoIP technology can provide you with convenience, ease, affordability, and many other benefits.

You can connect your existing home/office phone equipment to the Internet using special adaptors provided by most VoIP service providers and you're ready to roll. You can also use smartphones, tablets, or your computer in order to utilize this technology to its fullest extent.

Using a VoIP phone system can provide you with convenience, ease, affordability, and many other benefits. If you are considering using this technology here are a few factors you should take into consideration:

Things to Keep in Mind About Getting a VoIP Phone:

  • How easy the technology will be to set up
  • The calling features you get with individual services
  • The initial and ongoing cost of VoIP services
  • What types of VoIP plans are available
  • How good the support and customer service from the provider is

Related: If you need an internet plan beforehand, you can always compare internet providers and plans with us.

Five Benefits of Using a VoIP Service

VoIP phones offer great value and versatility, here's how:

1. Cost

This is a major reason why so many people have opted for VoIP services. Traditional landline phones are not exactly budget-breakers anymore, however VoIP services are so significantly less expensive, especially when it comes to long-distance calls, they can make it unnecessary to pay for a traditional phone service altogether. If you currently have high-speed Internet service - a stable high-speed Internet service is essential for clear calls - connecting can be very inexpensive. This equates to your money being better spent in other ways, or simply just being saved.

2. Unlimited Calls

Many VoIP plans come with unlimited calls in the US, as well as with free international calls with a limited number of minutes and unlimited long distance.

3. Variety of Features

All the standard features you would expect with a landline are available with VoIP, along with much more. Call waiting, caller ID, call forwarding, and three-way calls are available, along with other services such as sending and receiving calls from tablets or computers.

4. Keep Your Phone Number

Some plans/service providers allow you to keep your existing number, and choose your own area code.

5. Security

This is generally not an issue with VoIP services because strong encryptions are used to protect users against hacking. Though they are not without a small level of risk, they do limit the threat.

Questions to Ask

As emphasized earlier, when choosing a VoIP company, it is essential to do your research, via provider website, to see if they are a good fit for your needs, and to ensure that they will value you as a customer.

There are plenty of VoIP providers, such as RingCentral Office, that offer a variety of plans complete with their own incentives. For instance, RingCentral Office allows you to manage the system from smartphone, tablet, and PC. Furthermore, the software is BYOD-enabled with mobile apps and includes toll-free minutes. Other companies, such as Ooma Office, feature VoIP solutions for a small business. In fact, Ooma Office provides customers with enterprise-grade phone service.

Here's a list of things to consider about each company and what you should expect from them:

  • Do they offer a variety of methods by which you can contact them, such as by phone, email, social media, and/ or live chat?
  • Is their call center open 24/7 to customer needs and technical support?
  • Do they respond promptly to your calls/ emails/ chats?
  • Are the options they offer customized or are they uniform to fit the needs of all customers?
  • Is a money-back guarantee offered in case you don't want/ like the service? A money-back guarantee makes customers more likely to try a service.

Free Internet Phone Service Options

While we can't speak of the legitimacy of free VoIP offers, affordable VoIP services are plentiful.

  • On the positive side, one thing most people who use VoIP services know and love about it is that it is incredibly affordable
  • Generally, most residential users find it to be cheaper than a landline
  • First-year discounts are very common in the industry
  • Most VoIP companies offer free setup/ and or activation
  • Many of the best companies offer a 3-day money back guarantee
  • For international calling, it is the most affordable option
  • Many different plans and features exist, making it a very customizable service that can add value to your life

Home VoIP Service & Business VoIP Systems

There are two major types of VoIP telephone service: the residential VoIP telephone service and the business VoIP telephone service. Many businesses of all sizes, even medium-sized businesses, use VoIP phone systems to conduct their daily affairs. Organizations would benefit most from business VoIP providers. Examples of business VoIP providers are Vonage Business and Google Voice for Business.

Businesses also should be taking advantage of SIP trunking. SIP trunking, which saves money on long-distance call service and simplifies an organization's telecommunications, is a direct connection between the organization and the ITSP. Basically, it allows you to extend VoIP beyond your organization's firewall without the need for an IP-PSTN gateway.

What's also important to mention is that businesses also rely on a PBX system or Private Branch Exchange. The PBX is a private telephone network that is used within the organization and may feature a host PBX, or host VoIP. A host PBX/ host VoIP is a service where the VoIP service and PBX features are hosted at the service provider location rather than on-site.

With a host PBX, the organization users are able to connect from the network to the provider, saving users the hassle of ongoing maintenance and training of a traditional PBX. The PBX provider takes care of everything so the organization doesn't have to do the work.

VoIP Service Can be a Great Alternative to Traditional Landline

The VoIP system simplifies the concept of having a home phone line, and it does so with a wide range of modern conveniences. If you make international calls regularly or want to streamline your phone service away from the burden of a traditional landline, a VoIP phone may be the ideal method for you.

Significantly less costly than a standard landline, for home phone service, VoIP has become a fantastic option. I suggest going with a brand that has a great reputation and offers a great price for the services you need.

Whether you're looking to make international calls, or just want unlimited North American calling, working with the best VoIP providers can make having a home phone much more convenient and cost effective.

Methodology

I've done the research to offer all the details on finding the best VoIP phone. There are quite a few VoIP companies out there, however, it is wise to do your research before committing to any of them. There are even Internet providers that will offer VoIP services alongside their general home phone offerings. Take, for instance, AT&T's U-verse Voice, which is offered alongside AT&T Phone. U-verse Voice includes a plethora of advanced calling features and when you combine U-verse Voice with U-verse TV, you'll receive two additional features: Call History and Click to Call.

Some brands are very well-known, and these are the ones with generally the best reputations. In the following section, I will break down the top five companies, who I have rated based on their excellence of service, commitment to their customers, and how well they please their customers with available services.

Recap

Given the value, convenience and flexibility that VoIP service offers consumers, it is important to select the right plan and provider for your needs. You can then make the most of utilizing this innovative, practical technology and cut the cost of your communication.

VoIP phone is an excellent option for phone service because you easily completements that services an Internet provider offers. Often, you can bundle the two services together and save money on your monthly bill. To learn more, consult our buyer's guide to Internet providers.

While VoIP is a service which sends voice data through the Internet, some devices also offer a means to call others over a WiFi connection. While similar in practice to VoIP services, WiFi calling does not use data and, in some places, is completely free. To find out how to enable WiFi calling, check out our step-by-step guide.

VoIP offers some of the best, and most modern features available for communication. And because of its incredible affordability, it makes complete sense why so many millions of people have opted for this service instead of a traditional landline.

VoIP Services FAQs

Q What is VoIP service and how does it work?

A

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a popular alternative to traditional cable phone services. VoIP services allow you to communicate vocally over IP networks without the use of phone cables. Besides voice, VoIP services may offer SMS and fax as well. VoIP services can be set up to carry communications via the internet or in closed, internal IP networks. They can also be used on smartphones to connect via 3G or 4G networks.

The equipment required for VoIP services varies depending on the provider but all require a decent high speed internet connection. If you are going through a computer you need software and a microphone. If you want to use VoIP just like a traditional phone, some services offer specialized phones or adapters to that you can talk with a typical transmitter and receiver.

VoIP is a popular option because it is significantly cheaper than traditional phone service. For less than the phone company charges, most VoIP providers offer voice as well as text and fax communication. However, when the power is out so is your phone and there are some security issues.

Q Is the information I share via VoIP service secure?

A

There have been security concerns in the past when it comes to VoIP service and calls. But the threat of someone listening in on your conversations is nothing new. Traditional phones can be wire tapped if someone really wants to hear what you have to save. On the other hand, digital data is exposed to a whole different set of security risks. Plus, if you call a traditional landline from a VoIP phone you are exposed to the worst of both worlds. There are many paths digital information takes before reaching a destination. Information is sent to your router and many servers before reaching the intended person and may be intercepted along the way.

However, this is if your VoIP provider does not encrypt calls. Many of the top providers protect calls with strong encryptions that keep eavesdroppers from ever getting ahold of your data. Some providers don't encrypt or have weak encryptions. If you choose a provider with a strong encryption, most people with criminal intent will be kept at bay.

Q How do you use an international calling card?

A

You can use an international calling card by following these steps:

  • Dial the 800 number of local access number on the card.
  • Enter your PIN.
  • You'll be prompted to enter the international number you are trying to reach.

International calling cards can be used from any touch-tone phone in the US.

Q What is SIP termination?

A

SIP termination is a service that lets you use the internet to make phone calls to local and international phone numbers. The service gives you access to mobile phone networks as well as public switched telephone networks, letting you reach anyone that has a phone anywhere in the world.

Q What is the MagicJack?

A

magicJack is a VoIP product that has a standard phone jack and plugs into the USB port of your computer. You can plug any phone into the magicJack and use it to make unlimited calls to anyone in the United States or Canada over the Internet.

Q How do you call a magicJack number?

A

magicJack phones can't be called like other phones. Anyone looking to reach you will need to follow this process:

  • First, dial the magicJack access number, 1-305-848-TALK (1-305-848-8255).
  • When prompted, the caller should enter the magicNumber of the person they are trying to reach, including any * symbols in the number.

Q What are the disadvantages of VoIP?

A

If you're in the market to replace your standard phone service with VoIP, first take into consideration the following disadvantages. The most significant disadvantage of using VoIP is that it's dependent on wall power, in which case you run the risk of losing power altogether during a power outage unless your service provider has not supplied a backup power source ahead of time. The second disadvantage is the inability for authorities to track your location in the event of a 9-1-1 emergency. Since VoIP makes use of IP-address phone number, compared to the traditional NANP number, it's nearly impossible for emergency personnel to identify your location unless you explicitly state it during the call.

Q Does VoIP have good sound quality and reliability?

A

VoIP quality and reliability varies from provider to provider. For the most part, sound fidelity for the top VoIP services is excellent. In fact, some providers include synthetic background noise or "comfort noise" in calls just so that callers can tell when the line is working and to create the familiar call experience. VoIP systems may even use voice activity detection to suppress background noise and other distracting sounds while a person is talking. In many instances, VoIP sound quality is better than traditional phones.

Reliability is another issue. The wireless nature leaves VoIP service vulnerable to cutting in and out or choppy audio due to a poor connection. This depends on your VoIP service provider, internet service provider and anything else that would typically interrupt your internet connection. Also, a power outage that would knock out your internet would also leave you without the ability to make calls while a landline would be unaffected.

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