commentary Since publishing our "Is it time to ditch your landline" feature, which takes a look at Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and its viability as a regular landline replacement, a number of general misconceptions have been brought to our attention. This was particularly apparent when we took part in a recent radio segment on the subject for ABC radio, during which questions from confused listeners were fielded by CNET.com.au.
Below are our top five VoIP misconceptions and why they're wrong:
- VoIP calls are free - While VoIP calls between two PCs are free, if you're looking to call a landline phone, you'll have to pony up. Fortunately, this is much cheaper than a fixed line rate; on average, VoIP local/STD calls are untimed and cost just 10 cents, while a similar Telstra fixed line call will set you back approximately 20c per minute.
- VoIP lines can survive electrical blackouts - Unlike your regular telephone line, when the electricity to your home cuts out, so too does your Internet connection and thus, your VoIP line.
- Landline numbers are easily ported over to a VoIP service - If you decide to take the plunge to VoIP, chances are you'll need to live with using a new phone number. Each VoIP user is provided with a unique telephone number, however, relationships between traditional fixed line vendors and VoIP providers are far from strong, so porting numbers is difficult.
- Calls can only be made from in front of a computer - Although this was the case when VoIP first emerged, the recent emergence of wireless VoIP handsets and telephone adaptors provides VoIP users with just as much freedom as they'd have with a fixed line phone.
- Dial-up Internet is sufficient - If you want call quality to be anywhere near the level of your regular landline, the low bandwidth of a dialup connection just won't cut it. At least a 512kbps broadband plan is preferable, and if you're looking to ditch your landline, a cable, satellite or wireless broadband solution should be picked over ADSL.
A more thorough explanation of VoIP in Australia can be found in our "VoiP explained" feature.
Have you taken the plunge to VoIP yet? If so, is it a viable landline replacement? If not, why not? Talk back to us below.