The main reason people typically make the transition to VoIP is.... to save money, of course. That is why I started playing with DIY VoIP many years ago. We've all felt a bit taken advantage of by the incumbent Ma Bell type Telco's when we received those big phone bills each month. Who in their right mind wouldn't want to save 50 to 75% on their monthly phone bills? These days, VoIP seems like a no-brainer way to go.
I've been a VoIP evangelist for at least ten years now. And, I've always been eager to promote and encourage anyone and everyone to make the transition from POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) to VoIP.
But, DIY VoIP Isn't For Everyone...
Why would I say such a thing? Well, because from my experience it is a true statement. There can be a lot of technical issues and problems associated with implementing a VoIP home phone service. Keeping in mind that most people just want their phone service to work (be plug and play). End of story. Plug and play right out of the box is not an unreasonable request or expectation for phone service. But, unfortunately in the world of DIY VoIP, it just doesn't always work out that way. It is a relatively new technology and still has its growing pains.
DIY VoIP does require some technical aptitude. It requires the ability to troubleshoot. It takes willingness to solve problems.... yourself. And, it requires a willingness to learn a bit about the technology. It requires a degree of patience when the phone system isn't working quite as expected.
You Are Essentially Your Own Telco
With DIY VoIP, not only will you need to configure and administer your own VoIP devices, you will also need to know how to navigate and configure your VoIP provider's web portal user control panel accessible over the Internet.
Through these control panels, or administration dashboards, you have the ability to manipulate and control a vast array of call routing and configuration options. You can enable and disable your own services on demand. This is among the things I really love about DIY VoIP. With VoIP service providers like Voipfone and Sipgate, I configure my call handling and routing options just as if I were my own telephone service.
VoIP is the Future of Telecommunications
No doubt about it, VoIP is the future of telecommunications. Just as television has evolved into a digital service, so be it for telephone communications, too. Digital is in... analog is out. It's all just part of the evolution of technology.
Many Flavours of VoIP
Fortunately for most people, to use VoIP doesn't mean it's DIY or nothing. There are many VoIP services that will ship to you a VoIP ATA box preconfigured for their service. And, they will provide telephone and email support for any issues you have with their box and service. The only catch is that they charge you a premium over what it would cost you to do DIY VoIP yourself. As they say, you get what you pay for. Sometimes though, I just think we pay too much for the convenience of plug and play.
Nowadays, most cable TV companies provide high-speed Internet and broadband digital VoIP phone services. Problem is, you are no longer saving much money over what the Telco POTS phone services were costing you. You still may save some money with Telco and Cable company digital phone service, you just don't save as much money as the DIY guy does.
Moral of the Story
DIY VoIP home phone service just isn't for everyone. But, if you have an adventurous spirit, are willing to learn a bit about routers and VoIP ATA's and put up with the technical glitches that will inevitably haunt you, you will save substantial money doing it the DIY way.
But, if you don't have the time or patience for such things, you can still enjoy many of the benefits of VoIP by purchasing digital home phone service through one of the "value added" service providers. It only comes down to how much you are willing to pay vs. how much you can save over traditional POTS service.