Top 5 VoIP Providers and How They Work
Who the top five Voice Over IP providers are is certainly debatable and a search of the internet will give many different opinions. The best VoIP providers for residential service will often be a totally different list from that of VoIP providers for business. Also, the best providers for US residents may not be the same as residents from other countries. Keeping that in mind, below is a list of five of the top residential VoIP providers for the residents in the US, in no particular order.
- Packet 8. This is one VoIP service that you will find on just about anyone’s list. It provides it’s softphone, SoftTalk, for free. (A softphone is a piece of software that allows you to dial etc from your PC while using a headset as your means of voice transmission.) Packet 8 provides unlimited calls to forty countries around the world and lots of standard telephone features. Packet 8 also provides several different hardware options. You can connect your regular analog phone to their adapter or you can use their IP phone that has it’s own built-in router. They even have a video attachment that can be connected to your analog phone to allow video calls away from your computer desktop.
- Vonage. If you haven’t seen the television commercials for Vonage over the last couple of years, then you must not watch much television. Vonage has spent millions on promoting their VoIP service in television ads. Because of this, they are one of the most well-known and widely used services.
- Skype. Skype has taken an entirely different approach to marketing. Rather than spending money on television ads, they have used free downloadable software as their means of reaching new customers. The free service allows you to connect with other Skype users via the internet and provides free video chatting. Adding the VoIP to allow you to actually make and receive telephone calls via their service is just a click away.
- VoIP.com This service is growing fast in popularity. They provide one of the lowest monthly fees and also include a second line with their services. One of their most popular features is called FailSafe. This allows your calls to be automatically transferred to another number, such as your cellphone, in the event that your internet is down or there is a power outage. No missing a call for any reason.
- Lingo. This service comes with free equipment and over two dozen features. In addition to unlimited calling int the US and Canada, Lingo also provides unlimited calling to twenty-two other countries and that count will likely continue to grow. Lingo also has a mobile version which will allow you to add two cellphone numbers to your service for a very low monthly fee.
So, exactly how does voice over IP calling work? Basically, these services convert the analog data sent over a typical telephone into digital data so that it can be carried over the internet. The service is able to then connect your phone call to another analog or digital user. If all you are wanting to do is connect from one computer to another and not to an actual telephone number, then using the free software versions and the microphone and speakers on your computer is all you need to talk for free to any other computer user in the world. In addition, as seen with the very popular Skype version, you can turn that conversation into a video chat as well. That is VoIP at it’s very best.