VoIP Guide and Tips

Your VoIP Guide for Home and Business

How to Get The Best From VoIP Phone and Services

VoIP is the fastest growing internet communication service. With features and services not normally found in traditional landlines, it is fast becoming the number one choice of people.

At first, people have been skeptical to use VoIP but soon found out the effectiveness and convenience of VoIP.

VoIP phones are now changing people’s perspective on the use of telephone. If you want a phone, it can be a good choice.

VoIP offers standard features that regular landline phones often charges extra. For instance, free or low cost long distance calls are often not available in regular landlines. This is because VoIP uses the internet to make a call. Since the internet offers free information, and fast communication, VoIP phones take advantage of this feature to transmit the calls free.

With a VoIP phone, you can take your personal number wherever you are. You can make and receive phone calls from your number even if you are traveling as long as there is an active internet connection to where you are going.

There are many VoIP broadband phone provider in the market today, choosing the right one would be very beneficial for your business or personal for your use.

Here are some of the things you should look for when choosing VoIP service providers:

Audio Quality

Recent advancement in technology allows better sound quality with reduced noise. This means that a VoIP service provider should have excellent audio quality when making calls. If you experience lags or delays in your phone calls, you should think twice before subscribing to the company another time.

Little or no delay transmission is needed for your voice to reach the person you are calling. A one-second delay can mean the difference of making a simple answer of “yes” or “no”. Remember that voice delays can mean misunderstanding, and precise answers are extremely important in businesses.


Imagine making an important business deal or talking to your family and friends and your call is suddenly cut off. This is a bad sign that your service provider is not making sure that you get your money’s worth.

Get a VoIP service provider that offers maximum reliability and free try out periods to ensure you that they give the best service to their subscribers. Although cheap rates are attractive, try their services first before committing.

Customer Service

VoIP service providers should offer customer support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This can help you if you ever have problems using VoIP.

The customer assistance service should be quick and take care of their subscribers immediately after making the call. Know if the VoIP service providers you are planning on subscribing have customer assistance. Customer service can be found in the VoIP service providers or by calling them.


VoIP service providers should offer standard features like; free long distance calls, emails, fax, web conferencing, and videophone and others for no extra fee at all. Still quite a few VoIP service providers out there charge for these extra features. Get a VoIP service provider that offers maximum standard features free.


VoIP is supposed to be free or cheap. Get a VoIP service provider that offer free long distance and low monthly payments. Make sure that not only it should be cheap but also offers quality service. Most providers offer trial periods, use this to determine if it is worth spending you hard earned cash.

However convenient it might be to own a VoIP phone, there are still drawbacks for it. For example, you should have a high-speed internet connected.

Since VoIP phones depends on your internet connection, this means that disconnected internet, no VoIP service. Slow internet connection is also a factor. With slow internet connection, expect audio delays.

It is wise that before getting a VoIP phone, you should determine that the internet connection in your area is broadband and reliable.

Bob Hett has extensively covered the VoIP Service Provider industry as an analyst and has researched the various companies for factors based on price, reliability, support and overall quality. Learn more at VoIP Phones.

How Small Business Can Benefit from VoIP Technology

VOIP has been declared by greats like Forbes.com to be “the four letter word for growth.” It is widely acknowledged that technology can spur growth and businesses, even small ones that integrate new technologies, have a strategic and competitive edge over others.

VOIP offers great benefits. It involves the setting up of just one network that will encompass so many functions at extremely affordable costs. Studies show that the phone bill can be culled to half or even lower.

Although cost savings is reason 1 for installing VoIP there are by other great advantages. In the case of small businesses, you can choose any area code irrespective of where you operate from. So, if most of your clients are in Atlanta but you are based in New York you can choose a connection with an Atlanta code. This enables you to create a sound business presence in many cities. The system allows setting up of toll-free lines which creates the image of a large business. If you choose a plan carefully you will be able to make unlimited free calls for a fixed payment, forward calls, call internationally for a very low charge, and expand the reach of your operation.

A VoIP system moves with you, erasing the problems associated with business travel or other kinds of moves like shifting office or home.

As a business person, you or you office staff will always know who called because of “unified messaging.” And the system collates all the messages such that you can prioritize responses. And, what is even more alluring is that business can retrieve messages via telephone, PC, laptop, or PDA. So, your customers receive 24/7 service and are never disappointed.

The VoIP system allows multiple employees to manage customer calls. Creates a “mini” call center expanding business potential and facilitates better utilization of scarce resources. This leads to immediate solutions for customers. Useful features are click-to-call, web based voice mail, integrated conferencing, auto-attendant capabilities, and call routing.

In case of corporate use, VoIP allows the use of a single high speed internet connection for all voice, video, and data communications. It permits convergence. By incorporating a single data network across all offices and employees the business can reduce operating costs, increase productivity and efficacy, and enhance communications and customer services.

What you need to do, is seek expert advice and find out all you can about quality,
infrastructure, costs, and advantages as well as disadvantages. Technology moves with time so keep in mind aspects like upgrading of system and maintenance.

The system introduces efficiency, effectiveness, professionalism, and a customer oriented approach to the smallest of businesses, lending the business the advantages of otherwise unattainable infrastructure.

Paul Wilson is a freelance writer for http://www.1866Voip.com , the premier website to find help on Voip including topics on online voip, voip phone, voip service providers, voip solutions, business voip, internet telephony voip and more.

Bandwidth: The key Factor for VoIP Call Quality

A long-standing question for potential VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) consumers is “How much bandwidth does a VoIP phone require to make quality telephone calls?”

First of all, Bandwidth is defined as the ability to transfer data (such as a VoIP telephone call) from one point to another in a fixed amount of time. The higher the bandwidth speed you have, the more data you can send over your Broadband Internet connection.

There are two types of bandwidth at your location: upload bandwidth and download bandwidth. The Upload Bandwidth is the amount of data you can send to the Internet and download bandwidth is the amount of data you can receive from the Internet. The more Internet bandwidth you have from your ISP (Internet Service Provider) the better.

In most cases, the normal VoIP telephone call will use up 90 Kbps (kilobits per second). If you have a Broadband Internet service provider that doesn’t offer much bandwidth then most VoIP providers give you the option to lower the VoIP voice quality by lowering the bandwidth used for VoIP calls to 60 Kbps or, to really conserve your bandwidth, 30 Kbps. Most people can't tell the difference between the three settings. We suggest you use the high sound quality setting (90 Kpbs in most cases), if bandwidth is not an issue. High VoIP voice quality is generally the default setting but if you are running into a situation where your bandwidth is limited then you can adjust your VoIP bandwidth to one of the lower settings. Some consumers with 128 Kbps upload connections can receive less VoIP service quality due to a poor quality ISP (Internet Service Provider). By selecting a lower quality VoIP bandwidth setting, this problem can be avoided.

If you plan on using a VoIP service provider, should you get a DSL or a Cable Internet access provider? In general, DSL upload bandwidth starts at 128k where as Cable Internet upload bandwidth starts at around 600k. Cable Internet is a little bit more expensive, but it is also about 4-5 times faster than residential DSL and a bit friendlier to a VoIP telephone call. Having said that, both DSL and cable modem high-speed services provide sufficient broadband Internet access bandwidth to support any of the top VoIP service providers. If you are experiencing low Broadband Internet Service provider bandwidth, we suggest you try Packet8 VoIP. Packet8 VoIP boasts an advanced compression technology in which each active voice line uses approximately only 23Kbps of total data throughput, upstream and downstream.

The amount of bandwidth that a VoIP provider requires to make a quality telephone call is only one thing to consider when choosing a VoIP service provider. In fact, there are many things to consider when choosing a VoIP provider. An educated consumer generally results in a satisfied consumer.

Chris Landry is the foremost authority on residential and small business VoIP providers. Chris is the founder of http://www.VoIPChoices.com. Chris has prequalified several high-quality VoIP providers and compares them by price and features at http://www.VoIPChoices.com

VoIP Security: The Risk and Protection Measures

It is often said that understanding the problem is 90% of the solution, and VoIP security is no exception. It is fear of the unknown which is likely to elicit a knee-jerk reaction of panic, so the first step is to understand the threats and then classify them. We also have to ask the question: what does security mean to me and what does it mean to my customers?

Security to the customer means protecting their device and identity and the continuity of their service. Security to the service provider means protecting their network their revenue and their customers. In this feature we will look at service disruption and service theft.

A service can be disrupted by breaking the user's device, flooding the IP network with traffic or breaking the service provider's infrastructure. Disruption is usually achieved through either Logic Attacks or Flood Attacks or Application Layer Attacks.

• Logic attacks exploit vulnerabilities in protocols or their implementations, e.g. Ping of death, Teardrop, Land etc.

• Flood attacks disable targets through traffic volume; a flood attack can originate from a single platform or from multiple platforms.

• Application Layer Attacks include: SIP-SPAM, and identity forging.

We can also divide the attacks into IP layer and SIP layer thus:

IP Logic Attacks:
IP Logic attacks on SIP devices are no different to any other IP device; these include well known exploits such as: Ping of death, Teardrop, Land, Chargen and Out of sequence packets. All of these can disable a device which has not been fully tested to protect itself against these exploits.

IP Flood Attacks:
IP Flood attacks include: SYN flood attack (TCP SYN Floods are one of the oldest DoS attacks in existence), Smurf Attack, Fraggle attack and the list goes on... These attacks are designed either to overcome the device by tying up resources or to simply overwhelm the network through shear weight of traffic.

SIP Logic Attacks:
SIP logic attacks exploit weaknesses in SIP signalling implementations. Incomplete or incorrect fields, invalid message types can disable not only client devices but also core network devices.

This type of attack can be countered by thorough testing of any devices against suites such at the IETF SIP Torture test developed through the SIPiT Events or the PROTOS Test-Suite, developed by the University of Oulu.

A more sophisticated attack can be to inject messages into a call to terminate it prematurely. This type of attack can be largely avoided by the use of strong authentication techniques, thus, the injected packet would not be authenticated and therefore would be rejected.

SIP Flood Attacks:
SIP flood attacks exploit weaknesses higher up the communications stack that require more processing resources. As a consequence, it takes a much smaller flood to cause disruption. For example, one or more devices may send multiple registrations or call requests to a server.

Countering this type of disruption requires network based devices like Session Border Controllers (SBCs) to police the signalling stream and rate limit registrations and calls to Softswitches to predetermined limits. Acting as a proxy in the signalling stream the SBC can also filter inappropriate protocols, IP DoS attacks and invalid SIP messages. This helps compartmentalise the network and restricts any disruption to just one network segment.

Protect the User Device:
These devices will typically be incapable of rate limiting and may be overrun by flood attacks. This means they are subject to both logic and flood attacks. Again the user device will benefit from the protection afforded by network based SBCs blocking DoS attacks and invalid SIP messages.

Service Theft:
A simple example of service theft is to signal that a voice call it being made but exchange video data. This hits the service provider on two fronts: a) loss of revenue by billing for only a voice call and b) potential degradation in service quality for other users resulting in dissatisfaction.

The structure of a VoIP call with separate media and signalling streams has lead to some innovative ploys. For example, a rogue PC client which transports media in the RTCP quality monitoring stream, this is not policed in most networks. Another ploy is to transport media in the call signalling then failing the call before billing commences. Not only does this mean a free call but repeated call set can cause huge signalling rates which are a DoS attack in themselves.

The solution is to police all components of the call. SBCs police the signalling and the media to ensure that the call is executed as requested and that RTCP traffic is within expected bounds.

Security is a vast subject and needs to be ubiquitous in its implementation. Take care of the fundamentals first:

• Test network elements against standard IP and SIP test suites to ensure they can survive IP and SIP logic attacks.

• Implement strong authentication, identifying your users protects their identity, protect their service and combats disruption.

• Protect the Network by compartmentalizing it to restrict the range of any disruption.

• Block malicious or inappropriate traffic – do not propagate the problem.

• Limit the rate of traffic to core elements to ensure the survivability of the service.

• Police all aspects of the traffic flowing across the network to prevent fraudulent or inappropriate use.

A secure and dependable service brings with it benefits to users and provider alike. It will build user confidence which in turn creates dependable revenue for the service provider and by addressing the basics from day one, need not be complex or expensive.

Dave Gladwin works for Newport Networks and has worked in the telecoms sector for 25 years and VoIP for the last 10 years.

Voice over Wireless Local Area Networks (VoWLAN)

Voice over wireless local area networks (VoWLAN) combines voice over IP (VoIP) and wireless networking.

VoWLAN might just be one of those technologies whose time has come. Combining voice over IP (VoIP) and wireless networking, the two headline network technologies of the last couple of years, VoWLAN is, quite simply a natural.

Analysts say that the lure of VoWLAN is due to the fear of high Wirelesss phone costs. There's a lot of pent-up demand for VoWLAN, and particularly for dual-mode cellular and wireless VoIP phones.

VoWLAN also frees up the office workers who are no more bound by location inside the office. VoWLAN allows for freer movements - Anytime, anywhere conference, anyone?

Indeed, at one level, the equation is quite simple in a carpeted office environment. If you have a wireless network anyway, and your employees are using their company cell-phones to talk as they move from desk to desk and from conference room to cubicle, then you might as well see if you can put it all together and save airtime charges.


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