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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is VoIP?

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. While this may sound confusing, it simply means using your internet connection to carry your phone service. The quality is as good as or better than traditional phone providers, and much more advanced due to all the new features and technology. But, best of all, it's much less expensive than old-fashioned phone providers!

How does VoIP work?

You simply connect your broadband Internet connection to the phone adapter that is provided to you by the VoIP provider you choose, and then connect your telephone to the phone adapter. When you make calls, your voice is routed through the adapter to the internet. You can't tell that you're talking over the internet, and the person you're talking to can't tell, either. The only things you notice are the clarity of the call and all the great features that come with the service. Oh, and the reduced phone bill is hard to miss, too!

Will VoIP save me money?

Yes! You'll save a TON of money over your traditional phone service. As a rule, VoIP is much cheaper than traditional phone services. This is not just because of the cost-effectiveness of using the Internet to route phone calls, but also because of current government legislation that favors Internet phone companies. Recent changes by the FCC mean that individual states won't be able to restrict VoIP companies since they are not classified as phone companies, and this saves everyone money. And as the technology becomes more mature, prices are expected to continue to fall.

What do I need in order to use an internet phone/VoIP system?

All you need is a broadband internet connection (DSL or Cable) and the appropriate hardware as determined by the VoIP provider you choose, usually a phone adapter box provided by them and a standard network router supplied by you (contact your provider for assistance in selecting a compatible router, and visit our router page to buy one at a great online price). Once you receive the hardware from your provider, you’ll simply follow simple instructions to hook it all up. Once everything is connected properly, you’ll be up and running.

I have satellite internet. Can I use VoIP?

Probably not. Because of the way satellite internet works, there are delays in data transmission as the data travels into space, and then back to earth. As a result, satellite internet doesn't mix well with VoIP, as voice calls end up being delayed, kind of like international calls sounded 20 years ago.

Can I give up my normal phone line if I sign up for VoIP?

That depends. Most VoIP customers do indeed give up their normal phone lines once they have their new Internet phones active, for lots of reasons. First, the savings most people enjoy by replacing their normal phone lines with an Internet phone are considerable, and increase even more when the savings from long distance and international call rates are considered. Second, the features most Internet phones offer are remarkable – most of which normal phone providers can’t even come close to offering. There is a downside to an Internet phone, however. Because the system relies completely on your broadband connection (and therefore, electricity) in order to function, the system won’t function in the event of a power failure. The standard telephone line, by contrast, doesn’t require electricity to run, so it will always work in the event of a power failure. These days, however, most people own mobile phones, so there’s usually a backup phone to use if the Internet phone is down.

Can I get a VoIP phone number in any area code?

Probably..Each VoIP provider offers numbers in lots of area codes, but not all. You may find that your desired area code is offered by some providers, but not by others. Check each provider for details.

Can I choose my new VoIP number?

Maybe. Most providers will assign you a number when your order is place, but you won't get to choose it. Sunrocket, however, offers a unique system where you'll get to choose your number from a long list of about 40 - 60 numbers (and since Sunrocket offers a free second, "virtual" number, you'll get to choose that one, too!).

Will the Internet phone line sound the same as my normal phone?

Yes. Internet phone providers have spent millions of dollars on research and development and have fine-tuned their hardware and services so that their sound quality is indistinguishable from that of a regular phone. Consequently, most Internet phone customers can’t tell the difference between their new Internet phone line and their old standard phone line. Because the Internet phone relies on your Internet connection, it can occasionally experience some quality degradation if there are network problems from your Internet provider. This situation is rare, however, and most Internet phone services experience an extremely small amount of downtime and interference.

Can I use my fax machine with VoIP

It depends. Getting fax service (and your Tivo, DirecTV boxes, etc.) to work with VoIP has been a challenge for VoIP providers, because the technology was originally fine tuned to work well with voices, not data. Some providers, such as Viatalk and Vonage are already offering fax service on a separate line (usually about $9.95 extra per month), and others are hard at work on a solution, and promise to offer it soon. Many customers have reported success with faxing on providers who don't yet "officially" offer fax service, like Sunrocket. Remember, you can try out most services risk-free for 30 days and if you're dissatisfied, simply cancel the service and return the hardware. You'll owe nothing.

Can I connect all the phones in my house so they can use the VoIP service?

Probably. Many of our customers have successfully set up their VoIP service to work on all the phone jacks in their house, but doing so takes a bit of technical know how and is not for the faint-of-heart. You can learn about this procedure and find instructions from this post in our VoIP forum. Before you attempt this procedure, keep in mind that we offer many mutli-handset cordless phones for sale which offer the convenience of having a phone in every room, and save you from any wiring confusion. Check our equipment page for more information on these fantastic cordless phone systems.

How do I make calls with my Internet phone?

Depending on your provider, making calls isn’t any different than what you’re already used to. Some providers require that you dial a ‘1’ and the area code for every call, even if the call is local. Other providers permit standard 7-digit dialing for local calls within the same area code. International calls are made using the same dialing pattern as your normal phone. Whatever the requirements, you’ll quickly become accustomed to the dialing requirements and love the savings and features.

What features does my Internet phone include?

All of them. Seriously. Most Internet phone services include just about every feature you can think of. Aside from the standard stuff, such as caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding, and voicemail, there are lots of advanced features that you probably didn’t even know you could get! Imagine having your voicemail messages forwarded to you as attachments in email messages - you can listen to your messages no matter where in the world you are. Imagine forwarding your calls to your mobile phone (or any number in the world) and paying virtually nothing for it. Imagine having a number with any area code you desire, no matter where in the country you live – you can now have local numbers for friends and family in other cities, and have the calls forwarded to your home phone in any city. Imagine having access to accurate logs of all calls placed and received, anytime you need them just by logging into your provider’s website.

Does my computer need to be on in order to use VoIP

Nope. Your VoIP service only needs a high speed internet connection in order to work - it doesn't need your computer (unless you're using a PC-based VoIP service). In fact, you don't really even need a computer to use VoIP (you will need one in order to visit your VoIP provider's webpage and log in to your account to manage it). All you need to do is connect your VoIP adapter to your internet connection (some providers require you to have a router, others don't), and then connect a telephone to your VoIP adapter. Your computer has nothing to do with it!

I live outside of the United States. Which VoIP service can I use?

You can pretty much use any of them, subject to any usage laws in the country you're in. The catch is that most of the US-based VoIP providers we review on OrderVoIP.com will only ship to US addresses, and some of them may not process international-based credit cards (though you'll have to check with them about payment). However, many customers place an order and have the VoIP adapter shipped to a friend's US address, then have the equipment forwarded to the international destination. Once received, connect it directly to local high speed internet, plug in a telephone, and begin using the service. VoIP is ideal for people living outside of the US who need to keep in touch with friends or relatives in the states. One low monthly fee will provide unlimited calls from their international destination to the US, and will allow US-based callers to call you without any international calling charges. Keep in mind that some countries or internet providers may not allow access to VoIP, which will prevent you from using it in those areas. We recommend researching local laws prior to ordering any services.

Can I cancel VoIP service if it doesn't fit my needs?

Yep, definitely. Check our comparison chart to find out the length of each provider's free trial. As soon as you receive your VoIP equipment, hook it up and activate it so that you can maximize your free trial and see how great VoIP is. Some providers impose a minute limitation for the free trial, so don't go over your limit until you're sure you love it like we know you will. If for some reason you decide to cancel, please contact the provider you ordered from directly to set up the return.