How VoIP Works:
VoIP converts the voice signal from your telephone into a digital signal that can travel over the Internet. If you are calling a regular telephone number, the signal is then converted back at the other end. Depending on the type of VoIP service, you can make a VoIP call from a computer, a special VoIP phone or IP Phone, or a traditional phone with or without an adapter.
Depending on the VoIP service you purchase, you may need a computer, a special VoIP telephone, or a regular telephone with an adapter. If you are calling a regular telephone number, the person you are calling does not need any special equipment, just a telephone.
How to use VoIP Service:
If you use a VoIP telephone or regular telephone, you place and receive calls much like you do with regular telephone service. If you use VoIP with your computer, a telephone icon usually appears on your computer screen. Clicking the icon allows you to dial numbers from a pad, or dial a call by clicking on a contact’s pre-programmed name and number. You will then hear a ring just like any other call. Computer-based VoIP services have a variety of ways for notifying you that you have an incoming call.
You can also use your computer and VoIP service at the same time. You can also take some VoIP services with you when you travel and use them via an Internet connection.
Special Considerations for Using VoIP: If you’re considering replacing your traditional telephone service with VoIP, be aware that:
• Some VoIP service providers may have limitations to their 911 service. For more information on VoIP and 911 services, visit the FCC’s VoIP 911 Web site at
• Some VoIP services don’t work during power outages and the service provider may not offer backup power.
• VoIP providers may or may not offer directory assistance/white page listings.
These factors may change with new developments in VoIP technology. You should always check with potential VoIP service providers to confirm any limitations to their service, including 911 service.
Difference between Making a Local Call and a Long Distance Call using VoIP:
Some VoIP providers do not charge for calls to other subscribers to the service. Some VoIP providers charge for a long distance call to a number outside your calling area, similar to existing, traditional wireline telephone service. Other VoIP providers permit you to call anywhere at a flat rate for a fixed number of minutes. Your VoIP provider may permit you to select an area code for your VoIP service that is different from the area code in which you live. Calls within your VoIP area code may not be billed as long distance calls. People calling your VoIP area code from another area code, however, may incur long distance charges.
The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has worked to create an environment promoting competition and innovation to benefit consumers and, where necessary, has acted to ensure that VoIP providers.