VoIP Phone for Home (2 of 2) – Savings, Service, and Features In understanding VoIP for the home, addressing a number of topics is important. In this section, the savings, advantages, services, and other facets of VoIP are discussed. Savings and Advantages Advantages that come with owning a VoIP home phone system are vast. Savings is typically the main talking point. Users spending more than $100 a month for home phone service may find that a VoIP phone pays for itself in just a few months. Some plans allow you to call anywhere in the world unlimited for one monthly fee. Other services, such as Ooma, offer unlimited calling throughout the US after initial purchase, with exceptional rates on international calls. Features and Capabilities Features of VoIP systems may include caller id, call forwarding, voicemail, 3-way calling, and call waiting all without paying any extra. Some VoIP systems allow users fax capability. Many systems allow users to listen to voicemails through email. Most services today allow users to keep their existing phone number. With nearly all systems, setup is easy, and for more complex setups, technical support is offered. Landlines and Peer-to-Peer Skype is a VoIP softphone (though Skype hardware such as handsets may be purchased), and peer-to-peer calls (also called computer-to-computer, VoIP-to-VoIP, and SIP-to-SIP calls) through Skype are free. That means that Skype users can talk to other Skype users with no additional charge. Other softphone services work in the same way. However, when VoIP users want to make a call to a non-VoIP user, the signal must pass through a landline (that is, the traditional phone system network), and this service usually requires an extra charge. This is what most VoIP service providers charge customers for. Eventually, phone calls may be made entirely over the internet. Until then, users will still need to connect to a landline to complete calls that are not peer-to-peer. Product vs Service VoIP phone service providers may vary in the amount of customer service they provide. Generally, there will either be a toll-free number to call or a helpful website/discussion board to consult. If customer service is of the utmost importance, be sure to read reviews on the products and services. Any technology retailer will have sufficient product reviews on their websites. Be sure to read up on a product and the services that come with it before making a purchase decision. VoIP for the home is readily available and offers many advantages. Seek reviews for products online, ask friends and family about their experience, or consult a phone systems expert with questions regarding your phone system needs. For more information on VoIP home phone services, refer to part one.