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VoIP services are not without their drawbacks, no matter how attractive the advantages are.
In order to give a fair assessment of the drawbacks, VoIP services have to be divided into two categories: services that operate over a private, managed broadband network and services that operate over the public Internet.
The services that operate over the public Internet are subject to network congestion. This can sometimes cause static, echos, call delays and dropped calls. This is also a function of the service provider's equipment. AT&T has spent many research dollars combatting these issues with its CallVantage program and can be considered the "Cadillac" of public Internet based services. Packet8 also is noted for mostly clear communications.
Services over private, managed networks are less susceptible to these issues, but are usually more costly than the services over the public Internet. If call quality is important to you, this is a tradeoff you will want to make. Although these services are also technically VoIP, they are usually marketed as "digital phone services" in an attempt to differentiate them from CallVantage and Vonage.
Other disadvantages that apply to both are that if your network is down, so is your phone service. With most services, you also lose your phone service in a power outage. Comcast has remedied this by using a keep-alive battery backup in their phone adapters.
Most VoIP providers now are required to offer enhanced 911 services by law, so this is no longer the stumbling block that it used to be. However, some services use emergency call locations that are far away from their callers. It is always best to check fully into the details of the 911 services offered by a provider before making a final selection of carrier.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|