The way we communicate has changed drastically over the years, especially with the Internet revolution and all the technological advancements. Landlines are becoming more and more obsolete, ‘the technology of the past’, and are being replaced by another modern, more versatile, convenient and affordable method of communication: VoIP.
A few words on VoIP
VoiP is short for voice over the internet protocol and is the technology that allows you to make and receive calls using the internet instead of landlines. VoIP converts calls from analog to digital signals and sends the digital packets of data through a digital network. The packets of digitized data can be received by various recipients: they can get to traditional phone lines users, they can be received via public Internet networks or private Internet networks, by other VoIP users. Private networks are preferred though, because they are more secure and the call quality is better.
In conclusion, VoIP can be used to call landlines, cell phones, other VoIP users and to make computer to computer calls without using a special VoIP phone. What you need in this latter scenario is a headset or a microphone and some speakers. And of course, you’ll always need a broadband internet connection and a subscription to a VoIP service.
VoIP is not a new thing anymore. This technology has been around for a lot of years now and it’s been made possible thanks to the invention of one man: Alon Cohen, a business man and entrepreneur from Israel and cofounder of VocalTec. He was the one who invented the audio transceiver that later made VoIP possible and VocalTec was the first company to offer internet phone services, back in 1996.
What are the advantages of VoIP compared to landlines?
VoIP has several benefits:
- One of the most important benefits of VoIP is affordability; installing and using a VoIP system is cheaper than a landline; you don’t have to pay for a professional to set up the system for you, because you can do it yourself; you don’t even need to necessarily invest in special hardware such as a VoIP phone; most companies offer softphone support, meaning you can install a software on your device and make VoIP calls directly from your computer; all you need in this case is a headset; you also save money on the monthly bill, because all the VoIP calls are made via internet, so you can say good bye to those costly bills when you make long-distance calls, for instance
- A VoIP system is richer in features and possibilities than a landline system; you are not limited in the number of phone lines you can add to your VoIP network; you can add even hundreds of connections if you want;
- There are a lot of useful features included with a VoIP service: call recording, call forwarding, caller ID, call conferencing, online faxing, enhanced voicemail, video conferencing and many more
- A lot of VoIP providers also offer mobile apps
- You get more flexibility with VoIP, because you can make VoIP calls from anywhere, you are not tied to a specific location; as long as you have a reliable internet connection and a subscription to a VoIP service
- VoIP services cater to both individuals and businesses
Best residential VoIP services to consider in 2020
AXVoice is one of the most popular VoIP providers in the industry and it offers both home VoIP services and business VoIP plans. There are 3 residential plans offered by AXVoice: USA/Canada Unlimited, US/Canada 200 and Pay As You Go.
USA/Canada Unlimited: it is $8.25 per month; it includes unlimited calls to anywhere in the US and Canada
US/Canada 200: it is billed $ 5.99 per month and includes 200 minutes to anywhere in the US and Canada and free incoming calls
Pay As You Go: $4.99 per month and includes calls that cost 1.5 cents per minute to anywhere in the US and Canada.
AXVoice operates in the United States and in Canada as well and it also offers international VoIP calling. You can choose between Residential International ($16.58/month, includes unlimited calling to 45 international destinations) and Residential International Plus ($29.99/month, includes unlimited VoIP calls to over 60 international destinations).
AXVoice is very feature-rich and offers more than 30 VoIP features, regardless of the plan you opt for: 3-way calling, conference calling, E911 support, simultaneous ring, caller ID, call forwarding, anonymous call rejection, softphone support and more.
This VoIP service has an experience of almost 15 years in this industry and the company that offers the service is headquartered in California. Just like AXVoice, PhonePower also offers international plans and residential VoIP calling.
The US/Canada plans cost from $8.33 and up to $19.95 per month. International plans cost $19.95/month, $24.95/month, $49.95 per month, depending on the number of countries you have unlimited calling for. For the lowest price you get unlimited calling to 28 countries. For the highest price, you have unlimited calling to 87 countries.
All the essential VoIP features (and more) are included in PhonePower’s plans: caller ID, 7, 10, 11-digit dialing, voicemail to email, softphone support, free second line, simultaneous ring and many more.
Ooma is very popular for home use because it offers a free VoIP service. Ooma also offers business VoIP services, but this residential service tends to be more popular, because it is free.
All you have to pay for is the Ooma Telo device, which is priced at $99.99. The product comes with free shipping and includes a 30-day money back guarantee.
In order to be able to make calls, you have to connect the Ooma Telo to the internet and enjoy your free VoIP calling. There is no monthly fee you have to pay to Ooma, once you bought the hardware from them.
Telo is compatible with pretty much any landline phone, modem and router. The call quality is really good and the device is really easy to set up and use.
The free residential Ooma VoIP service includes the basic features such as caller ID, call logs, voicemail and so on. You can even port your phone number. But if you want more advanced VoIP features, you have to upgrade to a paid plan.