VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is an alternative to the telephone that allows the user to transmit voice communication using the internet. If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to communicate with friends and family worldwide, you’ll need to know the most important aspects of residential VoIP services of 2021.
The pandemic has given us all a shift in the way we communicate, and it’s seen a breakthrough in services that offer internet-based voice and video calls. If this is something that you’re not familiar with, trying to find a service provider that suits your home life can feel like a minefield. We understand that there is a lot to be considered, and it’s a daunting task if you’re not able to spend the time looking through the myriad of information available. This article will explore the best residential VoIP services.
How Does VoIP Work?
VoIP is often referred to as IP telephony, internet telephony, or internet calling. This is becoming increasingly popular globally, and technologies are always enhancing and developing new ways to work more efficiently.
VoIP is hugely beneficial for those with access to the internet but not to a telephone line, as it enables video or voice communication using certain apps. It uses an existing internet connection to facilitate voice and video communication and bypasses the telephone lines that regular phone calls need.
VoIP is increasingly being utilized by individuals and businesses alike due to the opportunity to save money on call charges and equipment. Users can use their laptop, tablet, or mobile phone to communicate, rather than having landline telephone handsets and the ability to use already existing internet services is a game-changer. It is easy to use, and the price plan can be adapted depending on your needs.
How Is VoIP Different from Telephone?
When a telephone call is made, the sound is carried along a specific physical path provided by a dedicated phone company. This system requires the use of traditional telephone infrastructure and phone lines. This is very different from how a VoIP works.
The VoIP converts the audio or video at your end into packets of data called “codecs” that can be processed using either hardware or software and are sent to the receiver via their IP address. This can happen either across a Local Area Network (LAN) or online. They often arrive via a Secure Real-Time Transport Protocol (SRTP), therefore encrypting the information and delivering it instantly. To the users, it’s no different from using a traditional telephone line, but to the individuals paying for it, the differences are astounding.
Another most important concern is the cost; this is a contest that VoIP undoubtedly wins, especially when used for residential purposes. The setup and maintenance costs are much lower, as most people already have the equipment and internet access (VoIP is used on mobile, tablets, and computers, among other things). The running costs and call charges are much lower for VoIP, with many monthly subscriptions markedly lower than landline costs.
The second concern that must be explored is that of reliability. As the VoIP runs using the internet, a reliable internet connection is vital. Your VoIP works only as well as your broadband, and this is definitely something that must be considered. Generally, landlines are not disrupted except for instances when there is a breakage in the telephone line itself, which is an uncommon problem. VoIP, however, is much more vulnerable to problems due to unstable internet connections.
If you live in an area that is hard to get decent internet, then sticking with a landline might be a better option for you, but if you’re happy that your internet connection is good, then VoIP works great. Some VoIP providers such as AXvoice offer the calls to work using lower bandwidths to ensure the best possible connection based on your internet availability.
4. Range of Features
The third difference between VoIP and telephony is that of the range of features offered by both. In this instance, VoIP far outweighs traditional telephones, offering numerous additions that landline phones just cannot compete with. These include call recording, Interactive Voice Response, the ability to choose your own number and area code, and video conferencing. This is just as easy using a VoIP as using a telephone but requiring much less extra equipment.
The sound quality is the main aspect of telephoning that currently tops VoIP, with the clarity being slightly better when the sound is transferred using telephone lines. However, advances in technology will not allow this difference to last for too long. Except for an occasional bump, VoIP is just as clear as telephoning (as long as your internet bandwidth is good).
What to Consider while Choosing the Best VoIP Service
When starting to look into service providers, there are some important considerations to be made. As mentioned above, the biggest consideration for home VoIP is that of internet connection. If you’re looking to switch from a landline service, your internet connection must withstand the demands of VoIP. This should be a first step to choosing the VoIP for you, and you might need to consider switching broadband if you struggle. Likewise, ensure your broadband package can offer you the right amount of data so you don’t accidentally incur extra charges by going over your data allowance.
Once the internet aspect is good to go, you should then consider the features you’ll need. Write a list of the most important elements you require. Don’t select a VoIP provider that cannot meet these. VoIP phones support many features that telephones cannot, so some research into the available software is important.
You should also consider the security and privacy that VoIP can offer you. Your VoIP provider must have tight security to ensure there is no breach of sensitive data.
The final consideration is cost; although largely VoIP services cost less than telephone and landline services, it’s important to make sure you choose a payment plan that is right for you. Some providers offer a free trial or a money-back guarantee, so it’s worth looking for something like this to ensure the service you decide to use is right for you.
Comparing VoIP Services: Vonage vs AXvoice
If you’re looking for residential VoIP services, there are many that you can choose from. Every provider offers a variety of different services, each promising to provide fast and reliable communication. The current market leader is Vonage, but many other up-and-comers are emerging that can challenge the services offered. One such service is AXvoice, and this article will compare this with the market leader Vonage.
There are a variety of similarities in the services offered by both Vonage and AXvoice, for example:
- Both offer unlimited, in-network calling.
- Allow you to keep your existing phone number or the ability to choose your own area code and number.
- Offer enhanced voicemail settings, with AXvoice allowing users to access voicemail from a web or email account.
- Allow users to manage their accounts simultaneously, with Vonage offering a free smartphone app and AXvoice offering software support for any device.
- Both offer free setup and hardware.
Some general features are also shared by both AXvoice and Vonage, such as:
- Display Caller ID, with name and number
- Do Not Disturb, to reject calls when needed
- Ability to view call logs
- Caller-ID blocking or changing to keep your number discrete.
- Three-way calling, to allow for group communication
- Call waiting
- Do Not Disturb will redirect your incoming calls to voicemail
- Blacklist specific numbers to stop them from calling you
- Caller ID for incoming calls
- Call filter to redirect contacts to your AXvoice line
- Anonymous call rejection to avoid calls from unknown numbers
2. Feature Differences
AXvoice can offer a variety of features that are not currently offered by Vonage, including:
- Unlimited calling plans
- Call forwarding
- Simultaneous ring, across three numbers
- Failover to redirect calls when ISP is unavailable
- Free in-network calling to other AXvoice users
- Use your current phone if it is unlocked
Outgoing Call Features:
- Hold music to keep callers engaged
- Enhanced 911 support to automatically provide the dispatcher number without having to say a word
- International outgoing call blocking to ensure no unexpected fees
- Ability to switch to lower bandwidth, if your internet is struggling
- 7-, 10- and 11-digit dialing for convenience
Related: Call Center Technologies to Improve Customer Experience
Incoming Call Features:
- Different, distinctive ringtones when you have multiple AXvoice numbers
Vonage offers few features that are not offered by AXvoice, specifically:
- A dedicated fax line
- A virtual number so that callers in other countries can call at a local cost to them
- A 1471 service to find out who called you last.
3. Price Differences
If you’re still trying to decide which service is the best one for your needs, it’s worth comparing the costs of the two. Both offer a money-back guarantee, and Vonage offers a minimum contract of 30 days.
AXvoice’s price list shows residential calling plans starting at just $8.25 a month with 30+ calling features added at no extra cost. This includes unlimited local and long-distance calls, emergency 911 support, free equipment, and no hidden fees or terms.
Vonage offers a starting price of $9.99 a month for six months, but this price jumps up to $26.99 a month for the following six months in a one-year contract. They also offer 20+ calling features, some of which incur a small additional cost.
When comparing the features and prices of both Vonage and AXvoice, it’s clear that AXvoice offers more features and services for much less money per month. If you’re looking for residential VoIP, then AXvoice offers a great service for a very reasonable price.