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Advantages & Disadvantages of VOIP: Pros and Cons of Using VOIP

written by: Ada Stoy•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 5/7/2010

VoIP is an established technology that happened because of its many advantages. However, it is not true to say that VoIP has only advantages and no disadvantages at all. If you want to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of VoIP, keep reading.

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    Advantages of VoIP

    VoIP is a great technology, which changed the world of telecommunications. Telecom operators might not be all happy about it, but it is a fact that VoIP has been relatively rapidly adopted and that it is here to stay. This is so because VoIP has many advantages. For instance, some of the advantages of VoIP are these:

    • VoIP is much cheaper. The unbeatable advantage of VoIP over PSTN is that for the end user VoIP is much cheaper and very often it is completely free. For instance, if you are using Skype or a similar service, you can make PC-to-PC calls to any location in the world for no charge at all. Even if you call mobile phones or fixed landlines, for international and long-distance calls VoIP is cheaper. There are VoIP providers, who offer free local calls to fixed landlines as well, so practically all VoIP calls can be cheaper.
    • VoIP offers more features. All equal, VoIP includes more features than a traditional phone service. For instance, conference calls and video conferencing (if offered at all by traditional phone service) tend to be very expensive, while with some forms of VoIP they come for free, provided that you have the equipment for them. The case with call waiting and call forwarding is similar – almost all VoIP providers offer them for free, while the majority of traditional phone service providers charge extra for them.
    • VoIP is portable. Finally, when you use VoIP, your phone number is portable. If you relocate, you can keep your old number in the new location. With Skype and the other PC-based VoIP services it is even easier – you just log into your account and this is it.

    The advantages of VoIP are certainly substantial. As for disadvantages, it is not precise to say that there aren't any, but in comparison to the advantages of VoIP, its disadvantages are negligible.

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    Disadvantages of VoIP

    The disadvantages of VoIP aren't that numerous and what is best – the issues can be resolved over time. In fact, in recent years much has been done to solve these issues and to constantly improve VoIP service. Here are some of the major disadvantages of VoIP:

    • Quality could be an issue. The main disadvantage of VoIP is the low quality of the calls. However, if we are to be honest, low quality of the calls happens only when the service is poor – i.e. the bandwidth is insufficient and there are frequent drops. If the VoIP service is configured properly and has access to sufficient resources, calls can be of crystal quality – i.e. much better than a call over a fixed digital line and light years from the quality of calls over an ancient analog line.
    • Availability. Availability is another disadvantage of VoIP. When there is a power outage and/or your Internet connection is down, your VoIP service will not be available. This is in contrast to PSTN (unless your phone set uses electricity, of course), where even if there is a local power outage, you still can make and receive calls. However, if your VoIP service provider takes the necessary measures to minimize downtime and you have an UPS or another source of electricity, you might never experience VoIP unavailability.
    • Emergency calls. The fact that VoIP is portable and you can call from anywhere is certainly a disadvantage as far as emergency calls are concerned. It is difficult to locate where a VoIP call is originating from. However, there are steps in this direction as well and hopefully soon emergency services will be adapted to receive VoIP calls and correctly identify the location they originate from.

    As you see, the disadvantages of VoIP are not impossible to deal with. Having in mind the numerous advantages of VoIP, it is easy to understand why VoIP became so popular in recent years.